By Dan McGrath

DePaul Prep handed Leo two of its five losses last season and was supposed to be better than 10-6 overall, 1-4 Catholic League after finishing third in the IHSA Class 2-A state tournament last season. 

But returning starters (and Leo nemeses) Jaylan McElroy and Payton Kamin have been sidelined with injuries, and the Rams have struggled. 

Leo, of course, doesn’t want to hear about missing players after being decimated by transfers. 

The team first-year Coach Jamille Ridley has cobbled together put forth a typically committed effort at DePaul on Friday, Jan. 13, but the 51-28 final was indicative of the gaps in talent and depth the Lions were facing. Even without their two best players, the Rams went to work on defense and cruised to a 23-point win. 

The tone was set during a plodding first quarter in which Leo had more turnovers (six) than points (two). DePaul put up 13 points, and the 11-point advantage gave Coach Tom Kleinschmidt the freedom to go to his bench early and often. 

Fourteen Rams played and 10 of them scored, with Jonas Johnson, Maurice Thomas and P.J. Chambers collecting nine points apiece. 

In fact, there wasn’t a double-figures scorer in the game as Keeland Jordan led Leo with nine points despite foul trouble and a scoreless first half. 

The Lions fell to 5-12 overall, 1-6 CCL with their sixth straight Catholic League loss.