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Hales Franciscan's Eddie Miles dunks on a breakaway against Von Steuben. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Shaquon Alexander looked forward to playing a Public League team.
“Playing against the Public League, you have to be more physical and be able to play through contact,” the 6-2 junior Hales guard said. “In the Catholic League, the style of play is cleaner and more about execution.”
Alexander scored 23 points, handed out six assists and recorded four steals to power the Spartans over Von Steuben 65-38 in the Bob Hambric Coaches Against Cancer Shootout at T.F. North in Calumet City on Sunday night.
Alexander and sophomore guard Joseph Larry proved the difference. Larry drilled two three-pointers and scored eight points in the first quarter as Hales (10-8) ended the quarter with a momentum-changing 12-0 run.
“Joseph Larry has a lot of confidence in his shot, and he comes in off the bench knowing that we need him to make shots,” Alexander said. “That was a big key for us.”
Alexander and Larry scored nine points apiece in the first half as Hales led 25-17 at the break.
Alexander played a crucial role of facilitator in the third quarter as Hales built its lead. He recorded consecutive assists to junior forwards Eddie Miles and Tim Robertson as the Spartans increased the lead to 39-24 after the third quarter.
“I thought Shaquon was really unselfish with the ball tonight,” Hales coach Gary London said. “[Von Steuben] obviously scouted us and they knew he was one of our primary scorers and they tried to shut him down. He did a great job of seeing the floor and creating for others.”
Alexander scored nine in the fourth quarter to turn the game into a rout.
“I just wanted to be aggressive going to the basket and use my size and speed,” he said.
Larry finished with 15 points for the Spartans. “He’s been a spark for us off the bench the last three or four games,” London said. “We’re a team that still has our deficiencies, but we had some turnover in our roster. Guys are starting to find their roles, and you see that.”
Miles and Robertson added nine points apiece for the Spartans.
Von Steuben (5-7) stayed close through the first half, but fell behind in the third quarter. They shot 0-for-6 from the free-throw line in the third and did not score for more than three minutes to start the second half. Junior guard Paris Garrett scored 10 for the Panthers.
Hales shut down the Panthers’ top scorers, guards Demetrius Faulkner and Joseph Rencher.
“It’s just a story we’ve had this year where we can’t make shots,” Von Steuben coach Vince Carter said.