Growing up in South Ozone Park, Allan Thomas would always play against bigger, tougher competition. It's a lesson learned from his father, Steve Thomas.
Perhaps that's the reason why the senior on the Thomas Edison boys' basketball team isn't surprised that his team has advanced to the PSAL Class AA semifinals one year after falling to Transit Tech in the Class A title game.
The Inventors might not be surprised, but pretty much everyone else in the city is after Edison dismantled No. 3 Wadleigh, 80-68, Saturday at Carnesecca Arena.
"I'm not going to be intimidated," Thomas said. "My dad said 'don't be afraid of anyone.'"
Now, Edison, seeded 11th in the citywide playoffs, will take on No. 2 Boys & Girls Tuesday in a semifinal game at St. John's University. One more upset will put the Inventors in the PSAL championship game next Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
"I knew we could get there. I never doubted it," Edison coach John Ulmer said about reaching the Final Four. "The goal is to get to the Garden. If that's not the goal, I don't think you should be coaching. Every year that's going to be the goal when I coach."
Ulmer knew there was no doubting his team's skills. But too often during the regular season, Edison would self-destruct, a big reason why the Inventors failed to repeat as Queens Borough champions.
But according to Ulmer, following a few team meetings, there was an attitude adjustment before the start of the playoffs.
"I told them to man up and stop acting like little kids, to play within the system, to play as a team," Ulmer said. "We stopped arguing."
And they started winning. First they went to Staten Island and upset sixth-seeded Curtis, 71-56. Then on Saturday, the Inventors raced out to a 22-7 first-half lead and never trailed.
Led by William Harrison, who scored a game-high 35 points, Wadleigh cut its deficit to just six points at the half. But behind Thomas (25 points), Stephon Hodges (20 points), Isiah Stokley (12 points) and Presano Bell (10 points), Edison extended its lead to 65-49 heading into the fourth quarter.
Now Edison is one step away from realizing its goal. But a Boys & Girls team that already beat the Inventors by 11 during the regular season stands in their way.
"We still have to take it game by game and play hard," Hodges said. "We're not worrying about who they have on the team, what they accomplished or how good they are."
Boys & Girls 68, Campus Magnet 50: Clayton Sterling (24 points) hit a three-pointer to cap a key 15-0 run for No. 2 Boys & Girls, which overcame an 11-point third-point deficit and cruised to a 68-50 win in a PSAL Class AA quarterfinal game Saturday at St. John's University. Brandon Romain added 14 points, Cyril Reid had 12 points and David Imes added 10 for Boys & Girls, which outscored No. 7 Campus Magnet, 16-5, down the stretch.
Mennon Chavis had 16 points, Khalid McDonald had 14 points and Kyle O'Quinn added 10 for Magnet, which wilted under the Kangeroos' press to the tune of 17 second-half turnovers.
Thomas Jefferson 61, Cardozo 55: Iona-bound Trinity Fields had 16 points, but just two after the opening quarter, as No. 5 Cardozo fell to fourth-seeded Thomas Jefferson, 61-55, in a PSAL Class AA quarterfinal game at Carnesecca Arena. A three-pointer by freshman Davontay Grace (15 points) put the Orange Wave in front for good with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter.
©2008 Community News Group
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