Timber Creek Boys' Basketball Makes...

Timber Creek Boys' Basketball Makes... Timber Creek Boys' Basketball Makes Big Opening Statement

It was only one game and the opener, no less, but Timber Creek certainly turned some heads with an opening 65-43 boys' basketball win over Paul VI.

It's not like Timber Creek came out of nowhere. The Chargers were a consensus preseason Top 20 team in South Jersey, but they were expected to go through some growing pains due to the graduation of backcourt members Rand Bell and Caleb Bowser.

That was cohesive backcourt and any team would likely take a step back when quality players such as Bell and Bowers graduate.

Yet coach Rich Bolds' Chargers made an emphatic opening statement over a Paul VI team that was a consensus Top 5 squad in South Jersey.

Yes, Paul VI highly touted senior transfer D'Andre Vilmar of Philadelphia's Roman Catholic, suffered a knee injury in the first three minutes and didn't return, which sure didn't help things. However, Timber Creeks still earns high points for such a decisive win over a quality opponent.

And the opener showed that 6-5 junior Maurice Murray is ready to assume his position as one of the top players in South Jersey. Murray scored 32 points in the opening win.

Last year Murray played a complimentary role to the upper classmen, but he showed his ability in big games late in the season.

Timber Creek advanced to the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals, losing to eventual sectional champion Winslow Township, 62-59. Murray contributed a game-high 22 points. (Timber Creek has a rematch at Winslow Township, Thursday Dec. 22. Due to the proximity of both schools and the success of their programs, this has become one of the better recent area basketball rivalries.)

One of Murray's best traits is his ability to take the ball to the basket and either finish, or draw fouls. And he is an accomplished foul shooter. In the win over Paul VI, he hit 15 of 19 from the free throw line. There are several good complementary players on this year's Timber Creek team including juniors Isaiah Sanders and Ricky Martin and senior forward Dylan Johnson.

In the opening win, Martin was the Chargers other double-figure scorer with 11 points.

Timber Creek figures to be one of the teams to beat this year in South Jersey Group 3. Another worthy challenger appears to be Pemberton.

And despite an opening 85-50 loss to powerful Camden, it would be premature to count Winslow Township out of the mix. The Eagles have been notorious for slow starts and quick finishes the past few seasons.

Still, this is shaping up as Timber Creek being a major contender as the Chargers could be improved from last year's 21-7 squad.  

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Author: Marc Narducci

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