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Lewis leads St. Mary's to CHSAA crown

St. Mary's senior Chavaughn Lewis, right, looks to

St. Mary's senior Chavaughn Lewis, right, looks to get past Chaminade's Lucas Colombo in the second quarter of the CHSAA boys basketball final. (March 1, 2011) Credit: James Escher

St. Mary's heartbeat is its point guard.

The point guard's heartbeat is the little girl whose face adorns the shirt he wears under his jersey.

It's a combination that's worked, one way or another, for 26 straight games. Tuesday, as undefeated St. Mary's beat No. 3 Chaminade, 74-43, in the CHSAA boys basketball final at Hofstra, it was no different.

Gaels point guard Dante Agnew won MVP honors with 11 points, five rebounds and 10 assists. Perhaps most importantly, he facilitated star guard Chavaughn Lewis' continued domination, as Lewis racked up a game-high 26 points. St. Mary's (26-0) led for nearly the entire game after an 18-2 first-quarter run proved all but insurmountable for the Flyers.

St. Mary's will take on the winner of St. Joseph's-St. Canisius, Sunday in Buffalo for a chance to compete in the state Federation tournament on March 25.

But when the hardware came out, Agnew's jersey came off. The picture is his bright-eyed cousin, 11 years old, glasses. She's grinning.

"She'd have been so excited," he said, adding that she came to every game she could. "She would be hugging me right now. This is for her."

Agnew's cousin, Cierra Boone, died last month of throat cancer, and Agnew has been "on a mission," coach Bill Harkins said. "He plays for a purpose."

That much was certainly evident Tuesday, as Agnew helped the Gaels' cut apart Chaminade's defense. St. Mary's led 36-17 at the half and outscored Chaminade (19-7) 17-10 in the third quarter behind Lewis and Agnew's well-timed play. Charles McCann chipped in 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals.

By the time the fourth quarter came around and Agnew served up an alley-oop to Lewis, who had three dramatic dunks in the contest, the two players' connection was well-established. "We're all brothers," Agnew said. And no, all the attention Lewis garners as one of the Island's top scorers doesn't bother him in the least. "I feel happy. It's my senior year and we get to win this championship."

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