By Dan McGrath
Keeland Jordan was the best player on the floor as Leo faced Marshall in the Breast Cancer Awareness Shootout at Orr High School on Sunday, Jan. 28. The Lions’ 6-foot-5 senior forward scored 25 points in the first half en route to a game- and season-high 34.
Problem was, Leo’s Public League opponent had two players who combined to surpass Jordan’s production: Joel Brown scored 29 points and Ja’Juan Cozark added 19 as Marshall went against “type” in pulling away to a 70-57 victory.
The Commandos as a rule feature frenetic, feisty guards who harass a team into submission. They brought size to this encounter; Brown stands 6-foot-8 and Cozark goes 6-6, and they didn’t meet much resistance from the smaller Lions in pursuit of offensive rebounds or when the ball was dumped into them.
Throw in a 31-21 free-throw disparity from which two things stood out and you have a recipe for a 13-point victory.
Marshall went to a box-and-one defense in the second half to contain Jordan, with Shaundell McGowan and Jalin Jackson employing roughhouse tactics that might have got them arrested on the street.
Yet Jordan shot just two free throws in the second half and six for the game, making five. His teammates missed nine of the 15 they shot, so Marshall’s 21-for-31 showing loomed large as the Commandos improved to 13-9, while the Lions fell to 5-18.
“You can’t teach size,” Coach Jamille Ridley said. “That’s what got us today, even though we played hard and competed. I’m not going to fault the effort. Keeland was terrific.”
The Lions will resume Catholic League action on Tuesday, Jan. 31, traveling to Lombard to face Montini at 7 p.m. Saddled with a 12-game losing streak, the Broncos are 3-20 overall and 1-9 in CCL play.