PLANO – Seneca avenged its only loss of the 2013-14 varsity boys basketball season, defeating Mendota 69-51 Thursday at the 51st annual Plano Christmas Classic.
Reserve forward Devin Leo said the Fighting Irish “came out flat” during their first game against Mendota, a 54-44 loss at their own Turkey Tournament. They did anything but Thursday, racing to a 20-4 lead by the end of the first quarter.
“During the start ... we played real well,” Seneca coach Russell Witte said. “The first time we played them, we got in foul trouble early, gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, gave up a lot of dribble penetration. We wanted to make sure that we took care of those two aspects and force them into being a jump shooting team, which we did.”
Three Conlan Callahan 3-pointers during the first led Seneca, which also got five points from Alex Bott. Two late Leo baskets helped the Irish sustain the lead during the second quarter and take a 31-15 lead into halftime.
Back-to-back threes from Joe Lashonse of Mendota caused a quick Witte timeout to open the third quarter, and a James Carroll fast break bucket got the Mendota deficit back to single digits. The game got as close as 38-32 before the Irish recovered, returning their lead to 12 points by the end of the third quarter and keeping it in double digits for most of the fourth.
Four players finished in double digits in points for Seneca. Callahan, who was 4-for-4 from 3-point land, led the way with 15 points, with Leo getting 14 points, Bott had 12 points and Ben Barnett had 11.
Seneca attempted 20 free throws, making 13, and was 25-for-48 from the field.
“I was trying to be the spark. Clearly I was trying to too much, it seems like,” Leo said. “[Getting to the basket] was one of our keys. We wanted to try and split them up, split the double or whatever kind of defense they were running. Just basically take it hard to the hoop and get fouled.”