By BRIAN CUNNIFF
All season, fans of the Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team have been waiting for the Crusaders to play a complete game from start to finish.
They saw it Saturday.
Playing at the Dan Finn Classic showcase event at the Jersey City Armory, Wildwood Catholic dominated Marist in a matchup of teams ranked in the Top 20 in the state, cruising to a 63-39 victory after leading by as many as 28 points in the second half.
“Our best performance of the year,” Wildwood Catholic coach Dave DeWeese said via text message.
Temple-bound senior Jahlil White was his usual stellar self, netting a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds for Wildwood Catholic (10-2).
But some of the Crusaders’ complementary players shined in this one.
Junior Martin Anguelov played his best game of the season, knocking down four three-point shots in the first half en route to 16 points for the game. He also had four assists. Senior Jacob Hopping added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Wildwood Catholic dominated on their head coach’s birthday despite a relatively quiet game from West Virginia-bound Taj Thweatt, who still managed to contribute nine points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
Wildwood Catholic, which entered the game ranked sixth in the state, raced out to a 19-8 lead after one quarter and was ahead 38-24 at the half. The Crusaders then outscored No. 13 Marist by 19-7 in the third quarter to take a commanding 57-31 lead into the fourth quarter. Wildwood Catholic eventually built its largest lead at 61-33 before settling for the 24-point victory.
Manny Toha, a McDonald’s All-American nominee, led Marist (9-2) with 13 points.