It speaks to the standards set during a 10-2 start to a season that there’s fault to be found with a 16-point victory, but that was the case for the Leo Lions at home against Marmion Academy on Friday, Jan. 14.
The Lions’ 70-54 win featured too many stretches of poor shot selection and indifferent play, particularly during a third quarter in which energetic Marmion (7-8, 2-5) simply took it to their hosts, outscoring them 20-10 and trimming what had been an 11-point halftime deficit to a single point.
Coach Jamal Thompson benched four starters at one point in an effort to shake up his team, and the move got Leo’s attention. Cameron Cleveland knocked down three three-pointers in the final period and junior Keeland Jordan came off the bench to take over underneath as Leo used a 10-0 run to reassert itself and remain unbeaten (5-0) in the Catholic League.
The Lions’ first home game in a month kicked off a four-game week. They’ll make up a Jan. 7 postponement vs. Providence-St. Mel at Leo on Saturday (Jan. 16) at 5 p.m., then visit Hillcrest on Tuesday (Jan. 18) at 6:45 p.m. and Montini on Friday (Jan. 21) at 7.
A successful start to a busy week, but not necessarily a satisfying one.
“When we run our offense and move the ball, we get good shots, shots we’ll make,” Thompson said. “Too many times tonight we settled for the first shot available. Plus we knew they had good shooters, and we let them make nine three’s. That’s unacceptable.”
The Cadets’ Sean Kavanaugh made five three’s on his way to a game-high 20 points, and Collin Wainscott made four while scoring 15. Four of those bombs landed during Marmion’s 20-point third quarter.
But the three was also a pretty good weapon for the Lions, who made eight of 21 from deep, four by Cleveland (19 points) and two by Christian Brockett (10 points plus three assists and three steals). Jakeem Cole had 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals and Tyler Smith tacked on seven assists and two steals to his eight points.
But the player of the game may well have been Jordan, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the final period, shooting 7-for-10 with two dunks that brought the crowd to life. He also took down eight rebounds.
“He gave us a huge lift off the bench,” Thompson said. “Next man up. That’s the way it has to be for us.”