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Sledge's 46 lead HHHW to LI 'AA' title

Half Hollow Hills West's Tavon Sledge is charged

Half Hollow Hills West's Tavon Sledge is charged with an offensive foul against Elmont's Greg Senat, 22, during the first overtime in the Long Island Class AA championship game. Hills West won in double overtime 79-75.(March 13, 2011) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Tavon Sledge is the new king of Long Island high school basketball.

The 5-8 senior guard scored a Long Island championship game-record and career-high 46 points in a thrilling 79-75 double-overtime win over Elmont in the Class AA title game Sunday evening at Stony Brook University.

Chris Kaimis hit two free throws with 30.7 seconds left in the second OT to give Hills West (18-5) the lead for good at 77-75. Sledge stole the ball on the ensuing possession and made one free throw on consecutive possessions (missing the first and hitting the second each time) with 6.7 and 0.8 seconds left to seal the win.

"This is a game that shows how big our hearts are," Sledge said.

Sledge scored 13 of Hills West's 17 points in the two overtime periods, hitting a three-pointer from the right wing with 14.6 seconds left in the first overtime to tie the score at 69.

"I'm never afraid to take the big shots, hit or miss," Sledge said. "Before the second overtime, I told Coach [Bill Mitaritonna], 'I'm gonna win this game for you.' "

Sledge did just that. He opened the scoring in the second overtime with a layup at the 3:25 mark and hit two free throws with 1:20 left to tie the score at 75. He picked up his fourth foul on a charge with 1:01 remaining, but Elmont missed a shot on the ensuing possession. Kaimis got the rebound and was fouled.

"There's something inside him other kids don't have," Mitaritonna said of Sledge. "I don't think losing is an option for the kid in his life. He's a winner, end of story."

Elmont (18-3) could have thought its last chapter had ended late in the fourth quarter. Anthony Rollino's steal and layup gave Hills West a 62-60 lead with 22.6 seconds left and Elmont's Anthony Elechi (17 points) missed two free throws with 5.1 seconds to go. But Devin Guerre's putback with 2.5 seconds left tied it at 62 and forced the first overtime, which ended in a 69-69 tie.

With Elmont down 73-69 in the second overtime, Tyler Dechalus went on a personal six-point run to give the Spartans a brief two-point lead. Sledge's two free throws tied it at 75.

"It was a tough game against a tough team," Elechi said. "They made better plays at the end of the game."

And the Colts hit their free throws when it counted most. Sledge, who had four assists, was 12-for-18 from the line and Hills West was 23-for-37 (62.2 percent). Elmont was whistled for 28 fouls and had three players -- Robert Chambers (11 points), Greg Senat (12) and Guerre (11) -- foul out in the second overtime.

Hills West is the first team to win back-to-back championships in the highest classification since the state went to a five-class format for the 2003-04 season. The Colts (18-5) will play Mount Vernon of Section I at 2:15 p.m. Saturday in the state semifinals at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

So Sledge could also become the king of New York State high school hoops.

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