LAMOILLE — Two weeks into high school basketball season, the LaMoille/Ohio Lions are 3-4, following a home weekend split with the Leland/Earlville Panthers and the LaSalette Academy Lions.
L/O downed their Little Ten rival Panthers, 53-49, on Friday night, then fell to the road-weary visiting Lions, 59-38, on Saturday.
“We made it a lot harder than we had to,” said L/O coach Brent Kalsto after his team’s four-point win on Friday night. “We got out in front 18-9. We did such good things, then we just started getting anxious, and we feel like, the first shot we get is a good shot.
“I don’t know what to expect for the year, but I know we’re not going to be bad. I guarantee that. But, it’s baby steps.”
Brandon Morris was good for 21 points on Friday and another 20 on Saturday to lead the Lions in both games.
“He’s the focal point of our offense,” said Kalsto of the senior Morris. “Everything comes off of him. We’ve got to have (other) guys hit some shots. When teams start collapsing on Morris, we need guys to step up and hit shots. And they will, they will. They just have to be confident.”
L/O’s advantage was just 49-47 with 48.5 seconds to play on Friday night. From there, though, Preston Powers and Jeffry DeLong both connected on critical 2-2 free throws each over the last 32 seconds of the game to allow the Lions to outlast the Panthers.
L/O, who raced out to an 18-9 lead on the Panthers on Friday, was soon down by 10 points, 18-8, Saturday against LaSalette after eight minutes.
The host Lions pulled to within seven, 31-24, at the break. It was a 26-24 LaSalette lead with 1:08 left before the half, when the visitors sank a trey and a deuce to go up by seven, 31-24, at the half.
LaSalette Academy, located about three hours away to the southeast in Georgetown, Ill., posted a lead of seven to 23 points throughout the second half of their win.
LaMoille sophomore Josh Gross added 10 points, including a pair of treys, off the bench to his team’s win on Friday night.
• Brandon Lowry’s layup with 2.1 seconds left to play lifted Leland/Earlville to a 38-37 win over LaMoille/Ohio’s freshmen-sophomore squad on Friday night. The younger Lions fell, 48-31, as well, to LaSalette Academy on Saturday.