Four games in six nights presented the Leo Lions with a tough challenge in the opening week of the basketball season, but they came through with three victories as Darius Branch averaged 20 points per game and fellow junior Darias Oliver contributed 17.5 points.

After a day of rest on Monday, the Lions are back at it for three tough games this week: De La Salle at home on Tuesday, Dec. 9; at
Providence on Friday, Dec. 12; and Hales at home on Saturday, Dec. 13.

Here’s a rundown:

LEO 52,  SETON 48, Dec. 2 at Leo

Branch led the way with 19 points and Oliver had 17 as the Lions overcame foul trouble and first-game jitters.  Oliver, saddled with
three early fouls,  played only 14 minutes. He also had 12 rebounds.

LEO 72, ST. FRANCIS de SALES 61, Dec. 5 at de Sales

Branch was Mr. Cool at the foul line, hitting 19 of 21 free throw on his way to a career-high 33 points. Oliver added 15 and a game-high 14 rebounds, while Kewan Smith had nine points and eight assists.


Oliver scored 17 points and brought down the house with an emphatic slam dunk off a drive as the Lions matched the athleticism of their Auburn-Gresham neighbors. Branch’s 17 points included an 8-for-8 showing at the foul line, giving him a two-game free-throw performance of 27-for-29.

VON STEUBEN 59, LEO 58, Dec. 7 at the Hall of Fame Shootout

Fatigue caught up with the Lions in the second half as they were outscored 44-33. They also missed Kewan Smith, who sat out the game after spraining his ankle against Calumet Perspectives. Oliver scored a career-high 23 points and appeared to tie the game on a jumper from the deep corner with two seconds remaining, but his foot was on the three-point line, so the two-point basket left the Lions one point short at the buzzer.