Ricky Martin powers Timber Creek past Winslow Township
The senior point guard made several big plays and knocked down two clutch free throws in the Chargers' hard-fought victory.
It was a chalkboard play sprung to life, with seemingly seamless transition from coach's design to players' execution.
It was "fundamental pick-and-roll," according to Timber Creek senior point guard Ricky Martin.
And it was just one sequence in the middle of the fourth quarter, long before host Timber Creek pulled away in the final seconds for a 54-48 victory over arch-rival Winslow Township in an Olympic Conference Patriot Division boys' basketball game.
But it underscored the secret to the Chargers' success on this Thursday night: their ability to make basketball plays in crunch time of a hotly contested affair.
"We talk about it and talk about it," Timber Creek coach Rich Bolds said. "You have to be able to execute at that time of the game if you want to win."
Senior swingman Maurice Murray scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half for Timber Creek (2-1 overall, 1-0 in the division), the No. 12 team in the Inquirer preseason Top 25.
Senior guard Robert Magnum scored 13 and senior forward Dre Bennett generated 12 points with 11 rebounds and two blocks for Winslow Township (0-3, 0-1).
With losses to No. 4 St. Augustine and No. 6 Camden Catholic as well as to Timber Creek, the visiting Eagles have been battle tested by quality competition early in the long season.
"We've been in every game," Winslow Township coach Wayne Nelson said. "We just have to find a way to make winning plays."
Martin was a key player for Timber Creek in the fourth quarter.
His pick-and-roll dish to reserve forward Demetrius Poynter gave the Chargers their first lead since the middle of the second quarter at 44-43.
"It was just like Coach drew it up," said Martin, who made the play after a timeout.
Martin made another big play moments later, lifting a steal and dishing to Murray, who tossed a behind-the-back pass to Isaiah Sanders for a slam that gave the Chargers a 47-45 lead and brought the blue-clad faithful out of their seats.
"Maurice finally got his engine revved up in the second half and we started to go," Bolds said.
Winslow Township wasn't done. Magnum made a runner to tie the score, then converted a free throw for a 48-47 lead at the 1 minute, 43-second mark.
"That's a good team," Bolds said of Winslow Township. "They play hard."
Timber Creek scored the game's final seven points, all from the foul line.
That was another part of the Chargers' late-game execution, shooting 7-for-8 from the stripe in pressure situations.
Martin was the man in that regard, too, as the 5-foot-10 floor leader gave the Chargers the lead for good at 49-48 with a pair of free throws at the 1:29 mark.
On the next possession, Martin made a steal and that led to two free throws by Miller at 0:37.
Murray, who wears No. 22, closed the deal with two steals and 3-for-4 shooting from the foul line in the final 22 seconds.
"I'm a senior now and I know I have to make plays for my team when we need them," Martin said.
Of his clutch free throws, Martin said, "We shoot them every day in practice. You've just got to knock them down."
Winslow Twp. 12 21 8 7 — 48
Timber Creek 13 13 12 16 — 54
WT: Robert Magnum 13, Tysheim McClennan-Perkins 4, Dre Bennett 12, Kameron Johnson 5, Pierre Harden 10, Mike Skillings 4.
TC: Maurice Murray 20, Isaiah Sanders 6, Ricky Martin 7, Dylan Elliott 6, Tim Schultice 3, Sean Miller 8, David Cade 2, Demetrius Paynter 2.