New coach, same re­sult

Cleve­land Jr. scores 13 as Leo beats Loy­ola in first game un­der new coach Thomp­son

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Steve Mil­lar

Leo’s Fred Cleve­land Jr. just wanted to play a bas­ket­ball game.

The se­nior guard couldn’t wait to get back on the court un­der new coach Ja­mal Thomp­son af­ter a tu­mul­tuous week that saw Shawn Fri­son dis­missed as head coach fol­low­ing an al­ter­ca­tion with Fred Sr., Cleve­land’s dad and an as­sis­tant coach.

“The main thing for us was to keep our fo­cus,” Cleve­land Jr. said. “We’re still fo­cused on be­ing one of the top teams in the state and win­ning a state ti­tle, and that’s what mat­ters to us.

“We ex­pect to win ev­ery game, no mat­ter who the coach is or if there’s no coach. Coach Thomp­son is a Leo alum, and we wel­comed him into the fam­ily with open arms.”

The Lions made Thomp­son’s de­but a suc­cess Fri­day night, top­ping host Loy­ola 54-48 in a Catholic League crossover.

Ju­nior guard Kevin Drum­goole led Leo (4-1, 1-0 Catholic White) with 17 points. Cleve­land added 13, while DeChaun Anderson fin­ished with 12 points and 11 re­bounds.

Ben­nett Kwiecin­ski scored 16 points for Loy­ola (3-2, 0-1 Catholic Blue).

Thomp­son, who pre­vi­ously was an as­sis­tant coach at Quincy Univer­sity, Bre­men and Se­ton, was named Wed­nes­day as the Lions’ coach.

He­was im­pressed with how his play­ers han­dled the tran­si­tion and were pre­pared for a game just two days later.

“I told the guys that we have to be tough, no mat­ter what the sit­u­a­tion is,” he said. “They had that men­tal tough­ness and they were ready. I’m con­fi­dent in th­ese guys no mat­ter what. They’re a great team.

“It feels good to get this first win.”

Drum­goole cred­ited Thomp--

son for mak­ing the cor­rect half­time ad­just­ments. Le­owent on a 15-0 run early in the third quar­ter to go up 34-22 and then led the rest of the­way.

“Coach fixed some things with our de­fense,” Drum­goole said. “We just went out on the floor and did what he told us and then we got some buck­ets. Coach did a great job.”

Drum­goole got the Lions go­ing with eight points in the first quar­ter, knock­ing downa pair of 3-point­ers.

“Af­ter the week we’ve had, we wanted to go out and play well from the start,” he said. “(Loy­ola) was fo­cus­ing on stop­ping Fred, dou­bling him, so I got some open shots and I had to knock them down.”

Thomp­son and the Lions are ready to move for­ward.

“A new era of Leo bas­ket­ball started (Fri­day),” he said.

Steve Mil­lar is a free­lance re­porter for the Daily Southtown.

TRACY ALLEN/DAILY SOUTHTOWN

Leo coach Ja­mal Thomp­son gives in­struc­tions at Loy­ola dur­ing the game Fri­day.

TRACY ALLEN/DAILY SOUTHTOWN

Leo’s Do­ri­anWoods, right, cuts off Loy­ola’s Ryan Evans dur­ing the game Fri­day.

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