Tuckey's win gives Hills East Suffolk title

Half Hollow Hills East's Zain Ali hits the Half Hollow Hills East's Zain Ali hits the ball during the Suffolk boys tennis team final between Half Hollow Hills East and Ward Melville. (May 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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One winning streak had to be broken at the Suffolk boys tennis team championship Tuesday, and the team that has had the most success in Suffolk over the last eight years was not ready to see it end.

Top-seeded Half Hollow Hills East (18-0) won its third straight Suffolk championship and seventh in eight years by handing No. 2 Ward Melville its first loss in 19 matches, 6-1 at Smithtown East. Hills East earned its 59th consecutive Suffolk victory, and will seek its first Long Island Championship against Cold Spring Harbor Tuesday.

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"It means a lot," Hills East first singles Zain Ali said. "It's great to be back in the Long Island Championship and I think we can do it this year."

Hills East took the first three points by winning first and third doubles and first singles in straight sets, led by Ali's 6-3, 6-0 win over Cole Laffitte. Alec Tuckey won the deciding match at fourth singles to put Hills East up 4-0, winning a second-set tiebreak to avoid a third set and take the match 6-2, 7-6 (1).

"I played my heart out, I tried my best and in the end it paid off," Tuckey said. "I feel like we all won it together but it feels great that I was the deciding match."

The three remaining matches all went to third sets, with Ward Melville (18-1) earning its point at third singles with Jacob Rothstein's 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 win over Jeff Cherkin.

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