When one high school standout graduates, it's up to the younger members of the team to step up. That task is even more difficult when it's not just a standout that needs replacing, but an All-Long Island star. Here we take a look at some of last season's top talent and the current players who have taken on the task of filling those big athletic shoes. (All stats and records are as of Jan. 24)
TAVON SLEDGE, HALF HOLLOW HILLS WEST
The Newsday Long Island Player of the Year, Sledge averaged 25.8 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals while leading Hills West to a second consecutive Long Island Championship. He scored a Long Island Championship-record 46-points during a double-overtime victory against Elmont. Talk about big shoes to fill, that job was given to...
EMIL BLACKMAN, HALF HOLLOW HILLS WEST
A key player last season, Blackman now has the spotlight to himself while leading his squad to a 6-1 League IV record. He's averaging 20.18 points, good for sixth in the county. Blackman scored a career-high 28 points during a 78-63 loss to Archbishop Molloy on Dec. 18, also grabbing 12 rebounds.
CHELSEA WILLIAMS, COPIAGUE
Williams, shown shooting, averaged 20.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.2 steals, helping eighth-seeded Copiague reach the Suffolk AA semifinals. She averaged 22.3 points in three playoff games before giving way to...
MIKAIYA MOORE, COPIAGUE
Moore is averaging 16.3 points, helping Copiague to a 5-2 record in League IV. She's scored 20 or more points five times this season, with a season-high 24 coming during a 61-54 overtime loss to Ward Melville on Dec. 15. Moore has led Copiague in scoring nine times this season.
ANTHONY ELECHI, ELMONT
Elechi averaged 12.7 points while leading Elmont to its first county title. He was named the Nassau Class AA playoff MVP. When he graduated his role was filled by...
TRISTAN BROWN, ELMONT
Elmont is 8-1 in Conference AA-III this season and looking for another county title. A big reason for this sustained success has been Brown. He's averaging 11.16 points, and Elmont's only defeat this season—a 74-59 loss to Great Neck South on Jan. 6—came during a game Brown didn't play.
ALEXIS SMITH, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Smith, a finalist for the Miss New York Basketball award, averaged 12.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.8 steals. She was a part of two CHSAA state championship teams and won two NSCHSAA titles. She formed a devastating pairing with another All-Long Island 2011 graduate...
KAMALA THOMPSON, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
The other half of SJB's two-pronged attack, Thompson averaged 12.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.4 assists. But when Thompson and Smith graduated, two more talented players stepped in to take their place...
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
With one dynamic duo graduated, another pair of talented scorers have emerged for St. John the Baptist. Anastasia Williams is averaging 13.36 points while helping SJB to a 6-3 CHSAA record. Williams scored a season-high 21 points in a 55-26 win over Sanford on Dec. 28. And she has a talented partner...
BRIANNA THOMAS, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Thomas, right, is averaging 12.76 games, twice recording a season-high 22 points. She did it first during a 66-39 loss to St. Anthony's on Dec. 13 and again during a 63-47 win over Our Lady of Mercy on Jan. 11.
MATT SULLIVAN, WEST BABYLON
Sullivan, right, averaged 20 points, seven assists and two steals. He shot 84 percent from the foul line and finished second on Long Island with 64 three-pointers before yielding to...
MIKE RICHARDSON, WEST BABYLON
Richardson is averaging 17.9 points, scoring over 31 percent of his team's total for the season. He had a season-high 27 points during a 58-46 win over Huntington on Jan. 19.
BARBARA SULLIVAN, GARDEN CITY
Sullivan, shown shooting, averaged 18.6 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals on her way to being named Newsday's 2011 Nassau Player of the Year. She hit 32 three-pointers overall and scored 19 points during a 43-41 state Class A semifinal loss before yielding to...
SAM AURICCHIO, GARDEN CITY
Barbara Sullivan's gone, but Garden City keeps rolling on. The Trojans are 10-2, 4-1 in Conference A-I, and a big reason for that has been Auricchio, left. Just a freshman, Auricchio is averaging 12.7 points and had her best game during a 61-40 win over Seaford on Dec. 5, scoring 20 points. She's been either the leading or second leading scorer for Garden City nine times this season.
KEIRA CORBIN, BALDWIN
Corbin made her way on to the Newsday All-Long Island team as one of the best defenders on the Island, capable of severely disrupting the opposition. But she still managed an average of 12 points and five steals while leading Baldwin to its first Long Island Class AA championship. Lucky for Baldwin, they have a ready replacement in...
ALEX HAMPTON, BALDWIN
If Baldwin repeats in the Long Island Championship, Hampton will be a major reason why. She's averaging 13.8 points while guiding Baldwin to a 9-1 overall record, 8-0 in Conference AA-II. Hampton twice reached her season-high of 21 points, first during a 65-34 win over Valley Stream Central on Jan. 19 and again during a 52-42 victory over MacArthur on Jan. 6.
KERRIN MAURER, ST. ANTHONY'S
Maurer, left, averaged 11 points and five rebounds as St. Anthony's leading scorer. She helped lead St. Anthony's to a win in the NSCHSAA final, the program's first title since 1988. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings was...
REBECCA MUSGROVE, ST. ANTHONY'S
From one stellar “M” to another, Musgrove is averaging 11.2 points, helping St. Anthony's to an 11-4 record. She scored a season-high 20 points during a 58-37 win over Holy Trinity on Dec. 16.