By Dan McGrath

Offense, defense, rebounding … everything about the Leo Lions’ performance against Hyde Park in the Team Rose Shootout at Mount Carmel on Sunday was superior to their play against longtime rival Brother Rice at home two nights previous.

The effort in particular.

But a young, rebuilding team has little to no margin for error against a quality opponent. The Lions were too often flustered by Hyde Park’s clingy man-to-man defense. They missed too many of the shots they did create and came out on the wrong end of a 58-49 final, dropping to 1-5 for the season.

The Thunderbirds improved to 5-1. And despite leading by 10 points in the second quarter and 11 in the fourth, the Public League campaigners knew they were in a ballgame from start to finish as Leo kept coming.

But seven fourth-quarter turnovers and poor shooting undid the Lions as they managed only eight points in the period and saw Hyde Park gradually pull away.

Jurrell Baldwin scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half. Fellow seniors Germaine Benson (15) and Jaylen Shelton (11) combined for 26, but it could be argued that the older, savvy Thunderbirds won the game with a swarming, in-your-shirt defense that kept the Lions from generating much of anything at the offensive end.

Still, Stephen Barze hustled his way to 16 points, earning every one of them. Fellow junior Marlo Moore scored nine and freshman Jordan Kizer didn’t seem at all overmatched in producing eight points.

Top to bottom, the Lions looked like a better, more committed team than the one that took a 34-point pounding from Brother Rice at home, the indignity compounded by a fourth-quarter running clock.

They’ll try to keep some momentum going when St. Francis of Wheaton (5-2) visits the Lions Den on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.