Lions Handle Urban Prep Englewood
By Dan McGrath
As the only returning player with discernible experience, senior Keeland Jordan knows the Leo Lions will be counting on him to bring a lot to the table this basketball season.
Jordan, a long-armed, 6-foot-4 forward, was up to the task in the first two games, delivering 47 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks while driving the Lions to nonconference victories over Public League campaigners Bowen and Urban Prep Englewood at Leo on Nov. 28-29.
Jordan had 23 of his career-high 29 points in the first half and collected eight rebounds and four blocks in a 63-26 dismantling of Bowen. He followed with 18 points, four rebounds and two blocks as the Lions took care of turnover-prone UPE 56-24.
Granted, neither outmanned opponent would ever be mistaken for a Catholic League challenger. But with all the turmoil the Lions have been through in the previous four months—a coaching change and the wholesale departure of last season’s returnees—a 2-0 start is a welcome development.
Jordan was a valued contributor off the bench during last season’s 25-5 campaign, but rarely, if ever, did he put up an outside shot. The work he put in over the summer was in evidence as he rattled home seven three-pointers in the two games and attacked the basket with a sense of purpose, getting to the foul line 23 times. If he hadn’t missed nine free throws, his scoring total would have been more impressive.
Point guard Kevin Jackson’s defensive energy was a factor in Leo’s forcing 41 turnovers and allowing just 50 points in the two games. Jachi Lewis totaled 21 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow senior Christian Scott took down 15 rebounds, while sophomores Neal Anderson and Jerry Brown and freshman Malachi Adams looked like legit candidates for Coach Jamille Ridley’s rotation.
Prelims out of the way, it’s on to Catholic League competition for the Lions; they’re at Providence-St. Mel on Friday, Dec. 2, and play host to Providence Catholic on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The two teams are a combined 2-4, so a good start in conference play isn’t out of the question.
That’s a good thing, because the meat of the CCL schedule will be here soon enough.