By Phil Anastasia
On a team filled with role players, R.J. McCullough knows he has to play his part as well.
"We have guys who can rebound, guys who can handle the ball, guys who can shoot," McCullough said. "My job is to do everything."
A 5-11 junior guard, McCullough did a little bit of everything in Haddon Township's 58-50 victory over Sterling in a Colonial Conference boys' basketball game on Thursday night.
McCullough generated 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as Haddon Township improved to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in the conference with its sixth straight win.
"He was the 'X' factor," Sterling coach Rob Atene said of McCullough.
Senior forward Jarod Mullica and sophomore guard Devon Tuten each scored 19 for Sterling (2-8, 1-5).
Sterling played without its top athlete, senior forward Marvin Jones, who was out for personal reasons.
"They were missing the big guy," Haddon Township coach Ron Wister said of Jones' absence. "But they still are a tough team. They spread you out and they can shoot."
Freshman forward Eric DiCrescenzo scored 16 with 10 rebounds, senior guard Casey Boyle scored 10 and senior forward Nick Marino collected eight points and seven rebounds for Haddon Township.
McCullough controlled the game with his ball-handling. His sharp passing led to layups for DiCrescenzo, Boyle and Marino and he also was 6-for-9 from the field and 7-for-9 from the foul line.
"He runs things for us," Wister said of McCullough.
Sterling made a spirited charge in the fourth quarter, cutting a 14-point deficit to 49-46 on Tuten's deep three-pointer with one minute, 58 seconds to play.
But McCullough made both ends of a one-and-one at the 1:36 mark, and two more free throws at the 0:58 mark to bump Haddon Township's lead to 53-46.
"Mr. Wister has so much confidence in my heart," McCullough said. "He's pushing me all the time, telling me I have to run the team, that I have to be in charge out there on the floor.
"That's what motivates me, knowing my teammates are counting on me."
Sterling 3 18 2 27 -- 50
Haddon Twp. 15 13 9 21 -- 58
S: Kevin Gilligan 5, Jarod Mullica 19, Tom Sheehan 2, Jelani Jones 5, Devon Tuten 19.
HT: Nick Marino 8, Casey Boyle 10, R.J. McCullough 20, Eric DiCrescenzo 16, Jake Mulroy 4.
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