LEWES, Del. -- It would have been easy for A.J. Price to put his tail between his legs and sulk.
Just moments after missing a pair of free throws that might have clinched the outcome for Amityville, SVSM star guard LeBron James hit an impossible three pointer and was fouled.
After James' free throw, the Indians trailed 83-82 with just 5.4 seconds to play.
Amityville's All-American big man, 6-9 Villanova signee Jason Fraser, found Price streaking down the floor with a terrific football style pass. Once Price corralled the ball, James bumped and fouled the sophomore guard before he could drive to the basket.
With his two misses very fresh in his mind, Price (pictured right) stepped to the line with 4.0 seconds to play. He calmly sank both, even after the Irish used a time out between the two free theows to try and ice Price, to give the Indians a precarious 84-83 lead.
"I really would have preferred not to give him a second chance," SVSM Head Coach James "Dru" Joyce said. "He redeemed himself, and that's what good players do. We gave him the opportunity to redeem himself, and he made the most of it."
St. Vincent-St. Mary had one more chance. After the in-bound pass, James was able to get the ball back and heave up what appeared to be a 30 footer that glanced off the rim to preserve the Amityville victory.
"Throughout Amityville history, we play so much better when we are down," reflected a relieved Amityville Head Coach Jack Agostino after the game. "I'm nervous when we have the lead, and the only time I want the lead is at the end of the game. Our guys have the heart of a champion."
With Amityville leading 82-79 and 15.3 seconds to play, Price missed a pair of free throws that set the stage for James' near heroics.
James' shot was incredible in that he was falling backward and fouled as he released it. When it fell through, the crowd erupted and James danced around perimeter of the entire court, gesturing with his hands above his head.
"That little symbol means I've unleashed the beast in me," James said. "I just feel when I am out there that no one can guard me."
James was indeed unstoppable throughout much of the contest, tallying 39 points and seven assists in 31 minutes of play.
However, Amityville won the game by pounding the Irish on the glass. The Indians out-rebounded St. Vincent-St. Mary by a whopping 49-23 margin. Fraser grabbed 18 of them for Amityville, meaning that he almost out-rebounded the entire St. Vincent-St. Mary team by himself.
As a result, the Indians were able to get many easy buckets around the basket with Fraser's presence in the paint and Price's slashing athleticism from the wing to the basket.
Fraser finished with 28 points and four blocks to go along with his bushelful of rebounds, while Price added 21 points and five assists. Amityville shot 52 percent (32/61) from the field and went to the line 30 times.
By contrast, St. Vincent-St. Mary played much of its offense on the perimeter, largely due to the shot blocking presence of the long 6-9 Fraser.
The Irish connected on an astounding 13 of 28 three pointers, and it was a major factor in their ability to stay in the game despite being out-rebounded so decisively. Of their 28 field goals, 13 were of the three point variety.
Romeo Travis also continued his inspired play at the Slam Dunk for St. Vincent-St. Mary, scoring 19 points thanks in part to three of five shooting from three point range. Guard Dru Joyce hit three of seven trey attempts on the way to 11 points.
After an extremely tight first half that was called very closely by the refs, St. Vincent-St. Mary held a 47-45 edge.
The Irish looked like they would take control on a couple of occasions in the third quarter, taking a pair of nine point leads a few minutes apart.
Leading 49-48, James kick started an 8-0 run with a three pointer that gave SVSM a 57-48 lead with 5:47 left in the third quarter.
After Amityville sliced the lead to 57-52, a three pointer by Irish guard Carlos Mraz and a free throw from Travis pushed the lead to 61-52 with 4:02 left in the period.
Amityville responded with an inspired 11-2 run, capped by a Jason Fraser three pointer with :52 remaining in the third, to deadlock the game at 63 heading into the fourth quarter.
Then it almost looked as if the Indians would pull away. Amityville opened up a 75-70 lead with 3:56 to play in the game. Reserve Tamel Hinton was instrumental in capping the Amityville surge with a jumper and lay-up.
However, St. Vincent-St. Mary ended the game by hitting four three pointers in the final 3:31, setting the stage for James and Price's heroics in the waning seconds.
Amityville's victory was the last game of this year's Slam Dunk and gave the Indians the title of the National Power series division.