LAKE FOREST, Ill- Wednesday night, the Lake Forest Boys Basketball team took the court for the final time in the Competition Gym. Senior players and their families were honored prior to the game for their years of contributions to the program. For Ben Gibson, Jack Van Hyfte, Drew Arnson, Jed Thomas, Mead Payne, Sean Trkla, and Kyle Waggoner, this would be the last go around after a memorable career. With that in mind, Lake Forest was eager to get one more win at home against the visiting Waukegan Bulldogs.
The Scouts opened an early lead on the Bulldogs thanks to careless Waukegan turnovers leading to easy points in the paint. The Scouts received so many scoring opportunities to start the game that Waukegan’s Ron Ashlaw was forced to burn a timeout just four minutes into the game. Lake Forest’s hot start put them ahead 13-7 after the first quarter of play, and it only got better from there.
Lake Forest head coach Phil Lascala opened the game with an all senior starting lineup, but soon turned to his junior guard Jake Fisher to match Waukegan’s athleticism. After a lengthy absence battling a thumb injury, Fisher guided the Scouts’ offense to 15 second quarter points, giving Lake Forest the 28-18 lead at the half.
As the second half started, it seemed as though Lake Forest would cruise to an easy victory on senior night. Despite being down ten at the half, Waukegan, led by talented forward Bryant Brown, cut the deficit down to just six points by the end of the third quarter of play. In the fourth, Waukegan kept up their newfound intensity and continued to trade baskets with Lake Forest. With 14 seconds left and down four points, Brown nailed a contested three pointer to cut the Lake Forest lead down to one point. On the other end, Lake Forest’s Kyle Waggoner missed both free throws, and then the Scouts managed to foul Brown yet again. The junior made one of two free throws to even the game at 48-48. With just 7.6 seconds remaining, senior Jed Thomas weaved through traffic and drove the lane for two points, giving the Scouts a 50-48 lead. A Waukegan desperation heave to win the game came up no good, and the Scouts managed to secure a win on senior night after a difficult battle.
Obviously, the Scouts would have liked to keep their senior night game as stress free as possible, but a win is a win. For the seven seniors, it will forever be a memorable final home game. Wednesday’s game marks the final regular season game for the Scouts as they turn their attention to the playoffs. Lake Forest will play Round Lake this upcoming Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Deerfield High School. The Scouts will be without forward Ben Gibson for the rest of the season, but they are a team ready to cause havoc as the postseason games unfold.