Applause for our basketball team

Leo’s loss to LeRoy in last season’s state basketball tournament title game was disappointing, but falling to U-High in the championship game of the Class 2-A U-High Regional on Friday, Feb. 24 hurt just as much.

The experience of getting downstate and playing at Carver Arena in Peoria is something last year’s team will never forget.This year’s Lions won’t have that experience, and they deserved it. They are great kids who managed to win a lot of games (19-9) and, more important, represented Leo in a manner that did us proud, in the classroom and on and off the court.

But Leo missed 11 free throws and probably just as many layups and lost 45-41 to a U-High team that is talented, tough and well-coached. Freshman Jadon Williams scored 13 points, senior Mario Pittman had seven of his 10 in the fourth quarter and Leo held U-High star Jameel Alausa to nine points. The Lions competed hard, but didn’t play well enough. Season over.

They won’t hang their heads over a 19-9 record and a second-place finish in the Chicago Catholic South in what figured to be a rebuilding year. A sophomore and a freshman were Leo’s two leading scorers and there’s some talent on our lower-level teams, so the Lions have a chance to be good for a while. But we say goodbye to seniors Aamir Holmes, Khalid Manney, Mario Pittman, Joe Yuknis, Andre Gilmer, Okeitho Marshall and Mike Simmons, and we’ll miss their talent, character and commitment.

Before the game, I was telling a friend that I get more nervous watching Leo games than I did when my kids were playing. “Of course you do,” he said. “These are also your kids.”

They are. And I’m proud to say that.

Dan McGrath ’68, President
Leo High School

Nov 21 Morgan Park Academy 4:30 pm Away W 31-11
Nov 22 Little Village Thanksgiving Tourney Away
Nov 22 Juarez Away W 43-16
Nov 23 Hubbard Away L 35-32
Dec 2 St Rita* 7 pm St Rita Away L 78-54
Dec 4 Lincoln Park 11:30 am Ridgewood Shootout Away W 60-58
Dec. 9 Providence* 7 pm Providence Away W 33-29
Dec 10 Little Village 2 pm Home W 91-19
Dec 16 Mt Carmel* 7 pm Home W 67-46
Dec 26-29 Big Dipper Holiday Tourney Rich South Away
Dec 26 Butler Charter L 62-47
Dec 27 Johnson College Prep W 75-39
Dec 28 Rich East L 69-66
Dec 29 Lincoln Way Central W 58-41
Jan 6 St Francis de Sales* 7 pm Home W 60-50
Jan 7 Urban Prep-Bronzeville 7 pm Home W by forfeit
Jan 14 Nazareth 4 pm Home W 63-43
Jan 15 Evergreen Park 3 pm TF North Away W 59-35
Jan 20 Johnson College Prep 7 pm Home W 64-46
Jan 21 Urban Prep Englewood 7 pm Home L 60-53 OT
Jan 27 St Laurence* 7 pm St Laurence Away W 41-38
Jan 28 Tilden 4:30 pm Home W 71-39
Jan 31 Bishop Mac* 7 pm Bishop Mad Away W 43-42
Feb 3 Brother Rice** 7 pm Brother Rice Home** L 55-45
Feb 11-17 Catholic League Tourney Away
Feb 11 Wheaton St Francis 4 pm Montini W 50-44
Feb 12 Loyola Academy 2:30 pm Fenwick L 39-28
Feb 15 Bishop Mac L 54-52
Feb 22-25 IHSA Regionals TBA Away
Feb 22 Noble Street 6 pm University HS Away W 64-38
Feb 24 University H.S. 7 pm Kovlar Gym Away L 45-41