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Winslow Township’s boys did not have the easiest basketball opener. With no returning starters, the Eagles had to face defending South Jersey Group 3 champion Timber Creek, which was ranked No. 5 in The Inquirer’s preseason South Jersey top 10.The lack of experience apparently did not mean a whole lot as Winslow Township defeated the Chargers, 51-50, in one of the more remarkable showings of the opening weekend.

“We have had some on-the-job training and I think the guys responded,” Winslow coach Chris Martin said.

According to Martin, the defensive job done by his only senior starter, 6-foot-2 Darrell Brown, was a key. Brown guarded Navy recruit Montez Blair and held him to nine points.

Timber Creek was led by two sophomores, 6-6 Shawn Valentine, who had 21 points, and 5-11 Bill Belton, who added 13.

Young team. Bishop Eustace’s boys had four freshmen see action in Friday’s opening 77-68 loss to Camden. Forward Dexter Harris started and classmates Carson Purlefoy, Sho DaSilva and Will Lennon saw action off the bench.

“We like our freshman class,” Eustace coach Bob Falconiero said.

He also likes his juniors, led by 6-2 Pat Vasturia, who has scored 53 points in the first two games for the 1-1 Crusaders.

Big win, tough injury. Gloucester Catholic had one of the most impressive girls’ victories of the opening weekend with a 56-48 win over defending Tri-County Diamond Division champion Glassboro.

However, the Rams are now on pins and needles waiting to know the status of sophomore point guard Alex Balara, who suffered a leg injury late in the game.

It was originally feared that she broke her leg, but coach Lisa Gedaka said X-rays were negative. Balara will undergo an MRI exam today.

“She was playing so well,” Gedaka said of her point guard.

Gloucester Catholic received a balanced effort, with five players scoring from eight to 12 points. Junior Marisa Kinsley led the Rams with 12.

Nearing a milestone. Haddon Township girls’ coach Tom Mulligan could be hitting a milestone right after Christmas. Mulligan has 298 career wins. The Hawks (2-0) host Camden Charter Academy today and then meet Triton in the Clearview Tournament on Saturday.

Shawn Valentine tossed in a game-high 21 points and helped Winslow Township hold off host Timber Creek, 51-50, last night in a season-opening showdown of Olympic Conference Patriot Division boys’ basketball contenders.

Defending South Jersey Group 3 champ Timber Creek, ranked No. 5 in The Inquirer’s South Jersey preseason Top 10, used a big third quarter and Collin Johnson’s 17-point game to build a 38-35 lead entering the fourth period.

Valentine, who hit a pair of three-pointers, was backed by Bill Belton with 13 points. Read the rest of this entry »

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