The takeaway from the Leo Lions’ 100-48 beatdown of Noble Street-Baker in the first round of an IHSA Class 2-A Regional on Tuesday, Feb. 19, is that the Lions won’t have it so easy again in the state tournament.

Baker plays in a CPS charter-school league that is simply not as competitive as what Leo faced during a 20-8 regular season in which Public League challenger Uplift was the only Class 2-A opponent on the docket. So it was hardly surprising that, after a  brief 2-2 tie, Leo ran off 17 unanswered points and outmanned Baker never got closer than 17 down the rest of the way.

“You try to get what you can out of games like this, and I think we accomplished some things,” Coach Jamal Thompson said.

Leo, now 21-8, will face the winner of a Wednesday night charter-school meeting between ACE-Amendla and regional host UCCS Woodlawn at Woodlawn on Friday, Feb, 22 for the Regional title at 7 p.m. The winner advances to next week’s 2-A Sectional at Marshall High School.

The Lions dressed 12 players. All of them played and 10 of them scored, with Fred Cleveland collecting 18 points, five assists and four steals in fewer than 20 minutes. DaChaun Anderson had 12 points and nine rebounds and Myles Thomas scored 15 in similarly abbreviated action.

It was a night for the bench to show its stuff. Junior Tim Howard took advantage of extended playing time and scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Adarius West, continuing to establish himself as a credible backup point guard, had 11 points and four assists.

Josh Forest scored 18 for Baker (7-16).

“Everybody  knows it’s win or go home, and I think our focus was pretty good,” Thompson said. “We just have to keep it going.”