By Dan McGrath
For slightly more than a quarter, senior Keeland Jordan and his Leo teammates played some of their best basketball of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 27 against Schaumburg in the consolation bracket of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High School in Elmhurst.
The Lions shaved a 13-point second-quarter deficit to six (23-17) at halftime, then opened the third period on a 9-0 run courtesy of Jordan—he had 13 points in the quarter and outscored the Saxons (13-10) by himself.
But he went to the bench with four fouls in the midst of five straight empty possessions, during which Schaumburg used a 7-0 spurt to reclaim a three-point lead. Three minutes into the final period, an ill-advised drive to the bucket resulted in an offensive foul on Jordan that finished his day, as well as Leo’s, for all intents and purposes. The Lions would manage just five points thereafter as the Saxons pulled away to a 53-40 victory.
“Once again I can’t fault the effort,” Coach Jamille Ridley said after the Lions fell to 4-7 with their sixth loss in seven games, ”but we have to make better decisions, exercise better judgment.”
It’s worth noting that two freshmen and two sophomores were among the seven-man rotation Ridley employed for much of the day. But their inexperience showed as Leo shot 29 percent for the game, including 3-for-18 (16.7 percent) on three-pointers, and turned the ball over 16 times. Jordan went for a game-high 20 points, with seven rebounds and two blocks, but none of his teammates managed more than five points.
Schaumburg, by contrast, got 10 points apiece from Jordan Tunis, Tyler March, Clark Easley and Javonte McCoy, with McCoy collecting seven rebounds, three assists and four steals as well.
The Lions will have to sleep fast, as they were scheduled to return to Elmhurst to face Minooka (1-10) at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The Indians shot more three’s than two’s in Tuesday’s 43-40 loss to Glenbard West.