By BRIAN CUNNIFF
NORTH WILDWOOD – The Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team did what it was supposed to do Tuesday night.
The Crusaders dominated a severe underdog in the opening round of the state tournament to advance.
Wildwood Catholic, the No. 2 seed in the South Jersey Non-Public B Tournament, ran out a lead as large as 48 points, which represented the halftime advantage at 67-19, before settling for a 96-56 victory over No. 15 Moorestown Friends.
“I think we took care of business in the first half,” Wildwood Catholic coach Dave DeWeese said. “I thought our kids did a good job staying within themselves and being focused. I thought we played well offensively and we played pretty hard defensively.”
Martin Anguelov enjoyed his best shooting performance of the season for Wildwood Catholic (21-7). The junior guard knocked down what is believed to be a single-game program-record eight three-pointers and finished with 26 points.
The previous record is believed to have been set by D.J. Smith, who made seven three-pointers in two different games in 2015 and 2016. And Ryan Legler also matched the mark with seven three-pointers in a win over Delsea in 2016.
Anguelov, who played his freshman season and part of his sophomore season at Lower Cape May, is now 26 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
Senior stars Taj Thweatt and Jahlil White were also in double figures with 19 and 14 points, respectively, even though neither player saw action in the second half.
Senior guard Tommy Bolle, enjoying an extensive role in the contest, scored a career-high 12 points.
“It was nice getting some additional kids in the mix like Tommy Bolle and Nick (Montalbano), even in the first half,” DeWeese said. “Tommy has been so valuable to our team because every day in practice he works so hard. He pushes our first group every day. He’s relentless in practice, so he deserves to get some minutes like that. He’s a valuable asset to our team. He makes us better with his intensity, day in and day out.”
Darrien Grady, a freshman guard, scored 26 points for Moorestown Friends (4-19).
Wildwood Catholic moves on to face No. 7 Holy Spirit on Thursday at 7 p.m. in a game that will air on 98.7 The Coast radio. Holy Spirit beat No. 10 Timothy Christian in its tournament opener. Wildwood Catholic topped Holy Spirit, 56-38, on opening night this season.
“They’re a good team, a well-coached team and they have talent,” DeWeese said of Holy Spirit. “We’re going to have to prepare and be ready. I’m sure they’ll be ready and they’re going to come in here with a plan, so we’re going to have to come out and execute what we want to do.”