The Leo Lions completed the 2013 portion of the basketball season on a positive note, taking the consolation-bracket title at the 41st McDipper holiday tournament at Rich South High School.
Because of IHSA penalties handed down in the wake of an incident in the closing seconds of a game at Seton on Dec. 20, Leo was shorthanded for its McDipper opener against Joliet Central on Dec. 26 and suffered a 14-point loss. But the Lions, with four sophomores and a senior in the starting lineup, bounced back with victories over Rich Central and Barron Collier before downing Crete-Monee 70-59 for the consolation title on Dec. 30.
Sophomore guard Darius Branch made the all-tournament team.
The victory was a costly one, though, as senior guard Martez Hampton suffered a fractured wrist in the Crete-Monee game and will be sidelined for at least a month. Hampton, a starter since his sophomore year, missed most of last season with a knee injury.
Leo will take a 6-4 record into the resumption of Catholic League play against Mount Carmel on Jan. 7.
Referees called a halt to the Leo-Seton game at Seton on Dec. 20 when a fight broke out on the floor with 6.7 seconds remaining and Seton leading 49-47. Order was restored quickly, and South Holland Police gave the OK to finish the game after the gym was cleared of spectators. But the game officials chose not to resume, citing safety concerns.
Six players from each team were suspended from their next game for leaving the bench when the fight started. Pending IHSA review, the game is in the books as a double forfeit.