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During the January 18 game against Bishop McNamara, Hales’ 6-foot-5 sophomore Johnny Fox had a surprise for his family when they came to watch him play.
He had spent all season on the sophomore team but was promoted to varsity.
“I didn’t tell them I just let them see me warming up with the varsity,” Fox said. “I was pretty excited when coach (Gary) London told me and they were just as excited when they saw me out there.”
Fox contributed in that game, scoring seven points. He did the same against Providence Tuesday night when he entered the game in the third quarter, helping the Spartans to an 8-2 run to start the period and an eventual 55-52 Catholic South win. Fox had six of his eight points in the first 3 minutes of the quarter.
The Spartans (11-11, 3-5) evened up their overall record and continue building on a talented group of sophomores. Junior Eddie Miles had 14 off the bench to lead the Spartans while Tim Robertson added 10.
“(Fox) has been on varsity for a week and this is his second game and he’s been playing very well,” London said. “The sophomores (13-4) are having a great year and he’s playing with a lot of confidence and he really helped out tonight.”
Leading 36-27 after that third-quarter run and 46-36 early in the fourth, the visiting Celtics (11-11, 4-4) went on a 13-4 run to close within 50-49 with 2:42 remaining. Leading scorer Kevin Kozan had eight of his 17 points during the run.
The Spartans’ Shaquon Alexander hit a big three-pointer with 2:20 left for a 53-49 lead. Following a free throw by Joseph Larry, Kozan answered with a three with 27.2 remaining. But a free throw by Alexander with 3.8 seconds left and a badly missed three by Kozan at the buzzer sealed the win for the Spartans.
Miles Boykin had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Celtics while Jay Ramadurai added 12.
“Tuesday night in the Catholic League on the road is always going to be a bad night,” Providence coach Tim Trendel said. “We have to find a way to gut it out and play through the bad shots. I’m happy with the defensive effort.”