Lions Nearly Go All The Way!!



In case you missed it, Dan McGraths commentary on the Leo Game. is below.



It ended a few points short of a state championship, but the 2015-16 basketball season will be remembered as one of the best in Leo High School’s illustrious history.

By winning the Melrose Park Regional, the Elgin Sectional and the DeKalb Supersectional, the Lions qualified for the final rounds of the IHSA Class 1-A state tournament, going Downstate for the first time since 2009 and seeking to duplicate the Class A state championship they won in 2004 at the Peoria Civic Center.

Jamil Green’s putback basket as time expired lifted the Lions to a heart-stopping 46-45 victory over Woodlawn in a semifinal on Friday, March 11. As they had all season, co-captains Darius Branch and Darias Oliver were Leo’s leaders, Branch scoring 18 points and Oliver contributing 12 points and 17 rebounds.
But there would be no storybook ending in the championship game, where LeRoy put an end to the Lions’ title hopes with a 38-35 victory. Leo couldn’t hit a shot against LeRoy’s tightly packed zone defense, going 12-for-47 from the floor and 3-for-17 on three-pointers.

Matt Chastain, perhaps the best 1-A player in the state, solved the Leo defense for 21 points, but the dagger was a deep three from the corner by LeRoy’s Noah Perry that broke a 35-all tie with 38 seconds left.

Oliver had 14 points and 15 rebounds. Branch and Kobe Hampton scored eight apiece, but a sprained ankle suffered in the Woodlawn game limited Corielle Robinson to 11 scoreless minutes.

The Lions finished with a  24-9 record. They competed admirably, they comported themselves with class. They represented Leo the way we like to be represented.
There were milestones aplenty: We won at Hales and at Loyola for the first time in recent memory. We went 3-1 against an elite field at the Big Dipper Holiday Tournament. Branch surpassed 100 starts and 1,500 points for his career, made the all-tournament team at the Big Dipper and was chosen first team All-Catholic League by the league’s coaches. Oliver and Robinson were Catholic League All-South Section honorees.

Ten of the 14 players who dressed for the postseason are honor-roll students, including starters Branch, Oliver and Chris Winters and sixth man Terrence Lee Jr.

And second place in the state in our division? That’s a pretty good season. In time, the tears and the long faces that were prevalent in the Leo locker room will give way to a real sense of accomplishment. It was a great season.

We say goodbye—and thank you—to seniors Darius Branch, Darias Oliver, Kobe Hampton, Chris Winters, Corielle Robinson, Terrence Lee Jr., Jamil Green andHarvey Moss. They leave a great legacy for juniors Aamir Holmes, Okeitho Marshall, Khalid Manney and Joe Yuknis; sophomores Jaylen Samuels, Kenny Taggart and Antoine Wheeler and freshmen Dachuan Anderson and Rashad Woods.

Lions Pride forever.

Leo 90 years

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