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Lenape, Winslow Township boys' basketball teams enjoying early success

Balance and defense have made the difference for Lenape. Balance and long-distance shooting have done the trick for Winslow Township.

Balance and defense have made the difference for Lenape.

Balance and long-distance shooting have done the trick for Winslow Township.

The common factor for two surprising teams through the first 10 days of the South Jersey boys' basketball season has been an equal-opportunity offense.

Both teams are 3-0. Both have featured three different leading scorers.

"It's been a solid team effort every game," Lenape coach Chuck Guittar said.

The Indians, who entered the top 10 at No. 9 this week, have played their traditional stingy defense. They have allowed just 108 points in three games, a 36-point average.

The offense has come from a variety of players. Will Kelly and Josh Nace led the way with nine points each against Cherry Hill West, Sean Kelly had nine and Brad Robertson eight against Camden, and Jeff Dinich had 17 against Camden Catholic.

Winslow Township, South Jersey's new No. 10 team, has relied on some timely three-point shooting.

The Eagles rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit for a 61-49 victory over then-No. 5 Eastern thanks to some long-distance work that featured seven three-point jumpers in the third quarter, three by Stacy Upshaw-Goree.

Upshaw-Goree led the team in scoring that night with 18. Austin Walker was the leading scorer against Cherry Hill West with 13, and Isaac Merriel set the pace with 18 against Washington Township.

"We've stressed team defense and unselfish offense," Winslow Township coach Jared Price said. "We've really gotten a lot of contributions from a lot of guys."

Price said Upshaw-Goree, Richard Smith, and Geoffrey Jones had provided senior leadership while juniors Merriel and Walker were starting to make a major impact.

The team's depth will improve in mid-January as three transfers become eligible, including athletic junior Bill Johnson from Lindenwold and talented 6-foot-1 senior Steve Jones from Roman Catholic.

High-flying Pirates. Cinnaminson was unranked at the start of the season, but the Pirates have risen to No. 5 in South Jersey thanks to a 3-0 start that included victories over then-No. 10 Collingswood and then-No. 2 Rancocas Valley.

The Pirates have been led by seniors Napolean Blamon and Max DiLeo, one of the better duos in South Jersey.

The 6-1 Blamon has been on fire, scoring 27, 28, and 29 points in Cinnaminson's first three games. He also had 15 rebounds in the 72-60 victory over Collingswood.

Cinnaminson coach Mike Fries said his players also were motivated by a perceived lack of preseason respect.

"It bothered our kids that we weren't ranked anywhere at the start of the season," Fries said.

Knock four times. Bishop Eustace is scheduled to play in the prestigious Northeast Catholic Classic in Trumbull, Conn., on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Crusaders (2-1), who have been led by junior guard Carson Puriefoy, will be in a field with some of the better Catholic-school teams in the New England area, including first-round opponent Trinity Catholic of Connecticut.

"This is the fourth year I've applied to try to get us in this tournament," Bishop Eustace coach Bon Falconiero said. "The first three times, they shot us down. They finally let us in this year.

"It's the 25th year of this tournament. It's only open to Catholic schools, but they try to get the best competition they can. We're really looking forward to it."

Bench support. Kingsway got a big lift in Wednesday night's 55-54 victory over Williamstown in a Tri-County Royal division showdown from junior forward Brad Fagan.

The 6-3 Fagan, who had started the Dragons' first two games, came off the bench to score 10 points, nine in the second half. He hit a pair of three-point jumpers in the third quarter and made a traditional three-point play in the fourth quarter.

"I told Brad I thought it would be better for us if he came off the bench," coach George Passante said. "It wasn't a demotion for him. It was a way to make us better as a team."

Record setter. Senior guard Isaiah Morton became No. 1 St. Augustine Prep's all-time leading scorer with 26 points in a 63-59 victory over Ocean City on Tuesday night.

Morton, who has signed with Marist, lifted his career points total to 1,708. The old mark was 1,707, set by Anthony Farmer in 2005.