QUEENS — Harlem's Wadleigh Tigers ran past Queens' Campus Magnet Bulldugs Sunday, 58-44.
Wadleigh, which at 12-2 is in first place in the Manhattan AA division, was led by a pair of seniors and a rising freshman. They jumped out of the game with an offensive attack that picked apart the full-court pressure of Campus Magnet, 10-4, which is in third place in the Queens AA division.
The game featured two of the eight top teams the city sent to the Steve Simms Memorial AA Division Showcase at York College, a primer for the upcoming PSAL playoffs. The borough championships begin Feb. 7.
Wadleigh proved early on they belonged in the high-stakes tournament.
Senior Louis Costen was active early, grabbing boards and penetrating through the Bulldogs' zone to find open teammates; freshman Donovan Wilkerson was among the recipients, converting several lay ups to help give the Tigers a 17-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Campus Magnet, however, upped its defensive intensity to force several turnovers in the second and third quarters.
But the Bulldogs couldn’t stop Wadleigh. Wilkerson continued to knock down short-range jumpers and senior point guard Basil Harley was relentless in breaking down the Campus defense. Harley, who came in averaging more than 17 points per game, repeatedly blew past defenders to convert lay ups or kick-out assists.
Wilkerson led all Wadleigh scorers with 18 points. Harley and Llunga Kadisha added 14 points each.
“This was a team effort,” said coach Michael Crump. “No one man. No one ego.”
Asked about the off-the-court buzz surrounding the Harlem school — the city recently announced it was shutting down Wadleigh’s middle school due to poor testing and grades — Crump said it wasn’t a distraction.
“There’s not much we can do about that. It’s a political thing,” Crump said. “We’re still trying to work hard and tell parents to fight for their rights."