By MEL SUITER, Hernando Sun Sports Reporter
Photography by Alice Mary Herden
SAN ANTONIO, Fla. — In the jungle the rule is, only the strong survive!
Game two of the St. Leo’s Basketball Classic featured the Lions of Saint Leo against the Bobcats of Georgia College. It started as a defensive contest, a tight defensive game that slowed the offense down for both teams. Remember this is the jungle and in the jungle the Lions are the king of this den.
Inside the Marion Bowman Activity Center, the Lions defeated Georgia College 76-52, to even the day for the Sunshine State Conference against the Peach Belt Conference at the Saint Leo Classic, Saturday afternoon, Nov. 16, 2019.
Saint Leo basketball coach Lance Randall starting his fifth season leading the Lions, saw that his team was struggling early trying to find the tempo of the game. He called a timeout and sat his team in the huddle and made the adjustments on the sideline.
“I thought that our guys did a great job defending, we took Jordan Thomas out of the game, everything he got, we made it difficult for him,” Randall said after the game. “We were a little nervous at first but we had some good shots, we are very competitive and tough-minded.”
The man-to-man defense that started the game for the Lions forced the Bobcats to start their offense from way outside on the perimeter. A man-to-man defense that stretched the offense wide but the Lions had enough speed to close those gaps into small cracks.
There was a pride of Lions around the basket keeping the Bobcats away and off of the offensive glass, creating a transition style of offense.
The combination of plugging up the middle under the basket by the defense only allowed the Bobcats to shoot 28.1 percent from the floor for the entire game. Which allowed the Lions, the ability to run the court and take a 32-27 lead off the court at half time.
In the second half Randall watched his offense play right in front of him from the sideline. He opened up the offense with a perimeter game that put the Bobcats on their collective heals.
Georgia College basketball coach Mark Gainous watched his team struggle to defend the perimeter game of the Lions. He witnessed his offense struggle because his team was unable to get into a rhythm.
Gainous went from a man-to-man to a 1-2-2 zone defense to apply pressure on the perimeter shooting. The zone did create some uncomfortable moments for the Lions.
“This a young team, they have an experienced team- we like to play good teams and this is a good team,” Gainous said. “Sometimes you have to make an in-game decision and that was one. It was pretty good. We maintain and it gave us a chance in the game.”
Saint Leo Classic continued Sunday afternoon Nov. 17, with the Peach Belt Conference and Sunshine State Conference in action inside the Jungle.