By Dan McGrath

There were some “winning ugly” aspects to the Leo Lions’ 55-46 trimming of Bogan in a Nov. 28 nonconference road game, but a win is a win for a young squad working to establish itself.

So the Lions were happy to leave Bogan with a nice bounce-back victory that squared their record at 1-1 after they’d lost to Farragut in the previous week’s season opener. They’ll begin Catholic League play against conference favorite De La Salle (4-0) in their home opener at Leo on Friday, Dec. 2.

“It’s nice to get that first one,” Coach Jamille Ridley said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but the first one gets the monkey off your back.”

Leo’s contribution to the ugliness was pretty much limited to 11 turnovers and 30 percent shooting in the first half. There were clock malfunctions, scoreboard discrepancies and an officiating crew that tooted their whistles like caffeined-up kazoo players, resulting in 28 free throws in the first two periods and negating any semblance of flow to the game.

The Lions established a more orderly tempo in the second half and never looked back after freshmen Ka’ron Shavers and Nate Stephens fueled a 6-0 spurt that broke a 39-all tie. The freshmen were on the floor for Leo’s most effective stretches of the evening as Shavers scored a team-high 15 points and Stephens contributed nine with six rebounds.

“They gave us a lot,” Ridley said.

Neil Anderson held his own with the Bengals’ taller front line while going for 13 points and  nine rebounds. Emmanuel Walker flipped in three three-pointers and collected 12 points. Cam Roberts scored a game-high 16 for Bogan, but managed just three in the second half.

“Play hard, play smart and improve every week,” Ridley said. “That’s got to be our formula.”