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In a Catholic League South game filled with intense defense, tough rebounding and clutch baskets, No. 7 Brother Rice was able to put together a fourth-quarter run to barely hold off Providence 64-58 Friday night in New Lenox.
Brother Rice forward Alex Majewski scored 13 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, including a key three-point play and 5-of-5 free throws.
“We struggled a little bit tonight but this is big,” Majewski said. “We had lost two out of our last three. This was a big bounce-back game for us.”
It could have gone either way after Providence’s Kevin Kozan brought the home crowd to its feet with a long three-pointer to cut Rice’s lead to 48-47 with 4:30 to play.
That’s when Majewski spearheaded a 7-1 run with a putback basket that was followed by two free throws by Cal Kennedy and Majewski’s three-point play for a 55-48 lead with 2:40 left.
“I kind of did what I always do, just play aggressive, let the game come to me,” said the 6-foot-7 Majewski, who also grabbed 14 rebounds.
Jim Barista scored 14 points and Kennedy contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds for Rice (19-5, 8-3).
“This was a game we had to win,” Rice coach Pat Richardson said. “I told our guys I can’t remember a game we needed to win as badly as we needed to win this game. We lost the Catholic League championship I think on the previous Friday against De La Salle. We kind of beat ourselves. Then we get blown out by Rita. We got on our guys, ‘We need a win tonight.’”
Kozan led Providence (13-13, 5-6) with 28 points. Miles Boykin had 19.
“That was a great high school basketball game from a coach’s standpoint and a fan’s standpoint,” Providence coach Tim Trendel said. “If we get that defensive effort, we can make a nice run in March.”