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Curie 6-9 junior center Cliff Alexander knows only one way to play — Beast Mode.
Thursday against North Lawndale in the second round of the city playoffs, Alexander not only displayed his tenacity, work ethic and finesse around the basket during his team’s 56-34 win, he also displayed the latest weapon in his arsenal — a perimeter jump shot.
Alexander, who is being heavily recruited by major Division I schools, finished with 26 points, 20 rebounds, five blocks and four thunderous dunks. He had 12 points and seven rebounds at the half as his team built a 21-13 lead.
He took just one outside and hit nothing but net.
“He’s been working on that a lot and we cut him loose to do that,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “He is just a hard worker. He’s only been playing for a few years and he’s relentless.”
In the third quarter, Alexander started getting help from his teammates. Marcellis Davis hit consecutive three-pointers, and Joseph Stamps added another. Those shots were part of a 13-0 run that gave the Condors (17-6) a 42-19 lead.
“He’s strong and he’s developed a little touch and he hurt us tonight,” North Lawndale coach Lewis Thorpe said. “He doesn’t rush it, he takes his time and he overpowers you. He is a presence out there.”
The Phoenix (12-11) were led by Michael Lacy’s 11 points and Keith Mack’s 10.
With the game tied 13-13 in the second quarter, the Condors took the lead for good with a half-ending 8-0 run. Alexander had six points and four rebounds during that run.
“I’m the captain of the team and my coach wants me to do everything, and that’s why I play hard,” said Alexander, who according to Oliver has a second-to-none work ethic in practice. “I always want to lead the team by example.
“We want to win city and beat Simeon.”