Devon Murray leads Winslow Twp. past Washington Twp.

Washington Twp's Connor Hughes left, Mike Funaro (2) and Winslow Twp's Mike Skillings (5) Devon Merry (11) chase a loss ball during the second half of a high school basketball game, Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018, in Atco, NJ .Winslow won 51-44.

Devon Murray has spent most of the season waiting for the chance to make a move.

The same could be said of his team.

After playing predominantly on the junior varsity, Murray has emerged in mid-February as a key member of the Winslow Township basketball team.

Not coincidentally, the Eagles have caught their customary late-season fire and are set to enter the South Jersey Group 3 tournament as perhaps the state’s most dangerous No. 11 seed.

“It’s the Winslow way,” coach Wayne Nelson said after his team’s 51-44 victory over visiting Washington Township on Tuesday night. “It’s right there in our name – ‘Win Slow.’”

Murray, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, scored a team-high 13, including the game’s biggest bucket on a pull-up jumper with 1 minute and 1 second to play, as Winslow Township (8-16) won its third game in a row.

Senior forward Ivan Mosley scored seven of his 11 in the fourth quarter for Winslow Township.

“We’re finding a way to win games instead of just staying in them,” Nelson said.

Senior guard Mike Funaro scored 13 and senior guard Colin Meintel added 11 with four assists for Washington Township (7-18), which had won three in a row.

“The effort was there,” Washington Township coach Matt Kiser said. “They are just so hard to guard inside and their guards are big and athletic. They are a matchup nightmare.”

Murray’s emergence as an outside threat has added an important dimension to Winslow Township’s game, especially given the inside presence of the 6-foot-6 Mosley and 6-foot-5 senior Tysheim Perkins (12 points, seven rebounds).

“Teams can’t play zone on us,” Mosley said. “He [Murray] is our zone buster. If he gets a little space, he knocks it down.”

Winslow Township is the three-time defending South Jersey Group 3 champion. But in each of those seasons, the Eagles hit some rough spots in December and January, and found their stride later in the campaign.

“It’s like we can’t get going early,” Mosley said. “As the games go on, we get seasoned.”

Like his team, Murray has rallied late in the season. He burst on the scene in a recent victory over Seneca, the No. 2 seed in South Jersey Group 3, with 27 points on nine three-pointers.

“I told him, ‘You shoot better than a lot of players I’ve seen,’” Nelson said. “I told to keep shooting. I’ll tell him if it’s a bad shot. With him out there, it stretches the court for us and that helps our inside guys.”

Murray made a trio of three-pointers in the first half, but his biggest hoop was a jumper off the move from the right side of the foul line with Winslow Township protecting a 46-44 lead and the clock about to hit the 1:00 mark.

Murray came off a screen, pulled up and splashed the jumper that enabled the Eagles to seal the victory from the foul line.

“Coach said if it was there to shoot it,” Murray said. “I came off the screen and I was open. I just let it go.”


Box score

Washington Twp. 7 23 6 8 – 44

Winslow Twp. 15 15 9 12 – 51

Wash: Colin Meintel 11, Connor Hughes 4, Brendon Hickson 2, Billy McCrae 5, Asante Russell 5, Richard Santos 4, Mike Funaro 13.

Wins: Devon Murray 13, Tysheim Perkins 12, Robert Magnum 7, Kam Johnson 2, Dre Bennett 2, Pierre Harden 4, Ivan Mosley 11.