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Harris (35), Sledge (27) lead Hills West in Hoop Hall Classic

It was a Hall of Fame weekend, and Half Hollow Hills West used that showcase to play its most impressive game of the season Saturday in the Hoop Hall Classic on the campus of Springfield (Mass.) College.

Tobias Harris scored 35 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as Hills West defeated Sacred Heart of Connecticut, 75-56.

The Colts are 6-0. Sacred Heart is 7-2.

"We really came together as a team this weekend," coach Bill Mitaritonna said. "Tobias started the game with a three-pointer and we never lost the lead once. We just controlled the game."

Harris scored 29 points in the first three quarters as Hills West built a 53-46 lead. That's when Sacred Heart began double-teaming Harris, opening the door for Tavon Sledge. The point guard scored 14 of his 27 points in the final period as Hills West pulled away down the stretch.

"We cleared out one side for Sledge and he'd beat his man and finish," Mitaritonna said. "That's when we opened it up. We'd get a stop and Sledge would get a basket. It's the first time all year we really finished a game strong. It was because of defense."

It also was because Harris was dynamite from outside. He hit a season-high four three-pointers.

"I was really feeling it," Harris said. "My jump shot really opened up the game. I was hitting them so I kept taking them."

Harris was a hit with fans, too, signing dozens of autographs for youngsters before the game.

"It was a great atmosphere. Lots of fans," Harris said.

The crowd erupted in the first half when Harris fed Emile Blackman for a thunderous dunk. "A spectacular pass for a spectacular dunk," Mitaritonna said. "It brought the house down."

The game wasn't the only highlight of the bus trip. The team visited the nearby Basketball Hall of Fame, where Harris again was surrounded by autograph-seekers. It delayed the team's entrance by 15 minutes, according to Mitaritonna.

"The Hall of Fame was great," Harris said. "I liked looking at the Michael Jordan stuff and the old stuff to see how the game has changed."

Mitaritonna, a St. John's graduate who had never visited the Hall of Fame before, enjoyed the glass case that featured one of Lou Carnesecca's famed colorful sweaters and Chris Mullin's jersey.

"To me, that was unbelievable," said Mitaritonna, a Knicks fan. "I loved the Knicks exhibit - Clyde, DeBusschere, Willis and Bradley are all in the Hall of Fame and so is Red Holzman.

"The most amazing thing was that Michael Jordan has his own little video room. It gave me goose bumps just watching some of the stuff he did.

"And I'm not even a Bulls fan."

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