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The plan was to negate Providence senior guard Kevin Kozan and sophomore forward Miles Boykin to the degree possible.
“We’re like everybody else who plays those guys, wanting to take out Kozan and Boykin, and we feel we have the athletes to do it a little bit,” St. Patrick coach Mike Bailey said after the No. 22 Shamrocks erased a 38-36 deficit early in the fourth quarter Thursday night with an 11-0 run en route to a 53-45 victory over the Celtics in the championship quarterfinals of the Hinsdale South Holiday Tournament.
“Kozan got more looks than we would have liked, but I think we tired him out,” Bailey said. “When he got a lot of those looks in the fourth quarter, he didn’t look fresh.”
Kozan, who has enjoyed recent outbursts of 36, 30 and 28 points against good competition, was limited to 12 on 4-of-12 shooting. Boykin scored 13 and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead the Celtics.
St. Pat’s senior guard Royale Ewing topped all scorers with 19 points, 11 in the fourth quarter. He hit two straight three-pointers from the left corner to give the Shamrocks a 44-38 lead with 5:25 left.
“Ewing’s threes changed the complexion of the game,” Providence coach Tim Trendel said. “Miles (Boykin) got caught helping on the point guard (Elijah Watson) in the lane. But we can live with a three-point look against giving a layup.”
“Royale (Ewing) was frazzled at the start of the game, but as a senior, he settled into his game in the middle of the second quarter,” Bailey said. “And don’t forget Watson. We got wide-open looks because of him.”
“I’ve been saying we’re living on the edge because of what Kevin (Kozan) has done recently,” Trendel said. “Teams focus on taking him out. But the thing that makes me feel a lot better is that we’re not a one-man show. We had some guys step up and make some plays tonight.”
For example, junior guard Mitch Vanderwey swished two three-pointers in the first quarter. Senior guard Tom O’Halloran scored 7 points and grabbed 4 rebounds off the bench.
“We’re starting to build around Kozan and Boykin,” Trendel said. “I think this team will make some noise.”
Providence (8-5) will play at 4:30 p.m. Friday against the loser of the Brother Rice-Schaumburg. St. Pat’s (9-2) will face the winner in the semifinals at 7:45.