Four games in four days took a toll on the Leo basketball team en route to a runner-up finish in the Big Dipper holiday tournament over Christmas break, but a week off was just what the Lions needed.

They blitzed the Knights of Providence-St. Mel in a 21-6 first quarter and never looked back, rolling to a 73-55 victory in a Catholic League White matchup at Leo on Friday, Jan. 5.

Senior Malcolm Bell scored 20 of his game- and season-high 22 points in the first half, and junior Fred Cleveland added 19 points with seven assists and three steals as the Lions, ranked 18th by the Sun-Times going into the game, improved to 8-5 overall, 3-2 in the Catholic League overall and 2-0 in the Catholic League White.

Providence St. Mel could match Leo’s size and athleticism, but it had no answer for the Lions’ relentless rebounding. Junior DeChaun Anderson took down 22 rebounds to go along with 19 points and younger brother Kendale Anderson grabbed 13 rebounds as the Lions thoroughly dominated the boards and limited the Knights to one shot per trip up the floor.

Leo will take another trip outside the conference on Sunday, Jan. 7, facing Rich Central in the Bob Hambric Shootout at Thornton Fractional North High School in Calumet City. Game time is 1:45 p.m.