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Slow start dooms Lions vs. Mallards

LaMoille’s Brandon Morris shoots for two against Henry Tuesday at LaMoille. Morris tallied 22 points, but the Lions fell 49-40.
LaMoille’s Brandon Morris shoots for two against Henry Tuesday at LaMoille. Morris tallied 22 points, but the Lions fell 49-40.

LAMOILLE – Another lackluster first-half performance ultimately doomed the LaMoille/Ohio Lions Tuesday night against the Henry Mallards. Despite a respectable second half comeback, the Mallards left town with a 49-40 non-conference win.

“Down 19 at the half, I wasn’t happy with our effort. I mean, I came in (the locker room at half time) and I was positive the entire time,” said L/O coach Brent Kalsto. “I thought we did some nice things. We missed a lot of easy layups. But I told them, we got the shots we wanted. And, defensively, I wasn’t too (upset).

“Second half, we dominated them. We dominated them. Defense, we were swarming. But we just could not get out of the gate in the first half. And that’s what hurt us. And that’s what’s been hurting us all year.”

The Lions briefly led, 5-3, in the game’s first period. But the Mallards responded, rolling up an 18-9 lead after eight minutes.

L/O (0-7) managed just a pair of baskets and a free throw in the second quarter, while Henry pulled steadily ahead, posting a 33-14 lead at the intermission.

The game changed course in the second half, however, as the Lions came back.

Henry went only 3-14 from the field in the third frame, while L/O out-scored the visitors, 15-6, to make it a 10-point game, 39-29, with eight minutes left to play.

Julian Gonzalez’s third three-pointer on the night cut the Lions’ deficit to single digits, 47-38, with 1:32 to go.

Then Brandon Morris got a layup to make it 47-40, Henry, with 45 seconds to play.

But time eventually ran out on a potential home team victory, as the Mallards improved to 6-1 on the young season.

Morris went 11-15 from the field enroute to a game-high 22 points for the Lions (0-7). Morris, who fouled out the game with :21.6 to go, added a dozen rebounds. Gonzalez added 13 tallies, including three treys.

Morris scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to fuel L/O’s big rally. Kalsto said his guards, in particular, made the offense look a lot better in the second half.

“When we execute and get him the ball, when we take the ball down to the baseline and he can get up, he can score on anyone,” Kalsto said. “But the thing I was most happy with, it was the fact that my guards finally used ball fakes, they attacked the hole, and they drew defense off of Morris so that they could give it to him.

“I’m proud of everyone, (especially) that second half. If we play like that, we can play with anybody.”

Henry was paced by big men Ryan Condit (16 points) and Kyle Henderson (15), while Jake Schlosser contributed seven points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Alex Pettis added eight rebounds for the winners.

“I think the fact that our kids saw our fans stand up at the end and applaud what they did the second half, I think that might have helped us get over a hump,” Kalsto said. “Now, are we going to come out and win 20 games in a row? No, but hopefully we start playing better. That’s what we need to do. That’s what I want us to do.”

• LaMoille/Ohio’s frosh-soph squad secured a 49-33 victory in the prelim game, paced by Derek Debruhl (10), Josh Gross (9), and Jacob Tudor (9).

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