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After rebounding from a rough start Tuesday night, Richards was still hanging around going into the fourth quarter against Curie.
Then Curie’s 6-9 junior center Cliff Alexander, quiet through the first three periods, put the game away and put a show on in the process.
Alexander scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth and threw down three huge dunks as the Condors pulled away for a 56-37 win in a Class 4A Richards Regional semifinal.
“It was kind of frustrating,” Alexander said. “I usually score 10 points in the first half and I only had two [Tuesday]. Coach [Michael Oliver] told me to play strong in the second half.”
Even when he wasn’t scoring, Alexander certainly impacted the game on the defensive end. He blocked five shots and impacted far more. He had seven rebounds.
“That’s my game,” he said. “I’m always trying to make that difference defensively.”
Joseph Stamps had all 10 of his points in the first half for Curie (18-7), which will meet Bogan or Dunbar in Friday’s final.
Richards forward Josh Meier held his own against Alexander, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Cortez Harper added seven points for the Bulldogs (17-11).
“Josh did really well,” Richards coach John Chappetto said. “He wasn’t intimidated and he was up to the challenge.”
Curie forced nine turnovers in racing to a 17-7 lead after one.
It was 29-12 at the half, but Curie was just 3-for-8 from the field in the third and Richards pulled within 37-25 after three before Alexander threw down two powerful dunks off Demarcus Richardson passes in the opening moments of the fourth.
“We said at halftime ‘How do you want to go out?’ ’’ Chappetto said. “I was proud of the effort. [Curie] is just better. They’re well coached and probably have a future NBA player in Alexander.”
Richardson had seven points and seven assists and Marcellis Davis had seven rebounds for Curie.