LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Ahead of the upcoming playoff season, the Lake Forest boys basketball team is playing up to their potential. Expectations were high coming into the season after playing competitively with highly touted Orr Academy over the summer, and the Scouts are beginning to live up to those projections. Most recently, an impressive 64-56 win over Zion Township put Lake Forest just one game under .500 in the North Suburban Conference.
Tuesday night, the Zee-Bees (10-13) brought their athletic team into the Competition Gym ready to face off with Lake Forest (9-13) for the second time. Earlier this season, Lake Forest fell to Zion after surrendering a 21-15 lead. After the blown lead the first time around, the Scouts were dead set on getting their revenge, and they most certainly did.
Lake Forest was without Kyle Waggoner, who was out with mononucleosis, and Jake Fisher, who remains sidelined with a wrist injury. With that in mind, Coach LaScala turned to the reserves to propel them; Juniors Tommy Hanson and Crawford Bolton, and Michael Pasquella made it to the scoring column and gave the seniors a rest early on, even without the depth this team typically possesses. Zion, led by head coach Bob Worthington, struggled mightily with turnovers and wasted possessions, which gave Lake Forest an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, breakaway baskets by Zion’s Cortez Sawyer and Amar Augillard cut the Lake Forest’s lead to 19-18. Out of a Phil LaScala timeout, the Scouts put together a strong run to end the first half, giving themselves a 34-24 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, Lake Forest found consistency in their two most valuable areas: post play and three-point shooting. Jed Thomas and Tommy Hanson both hit from the perimeter and Mead Payne found success in the paint, as he added 14 points for the Scouts. Lake Forest propelled themselves to a 50-32 lead by outscoring Zion 16-8 in the third quarter.
While the Scouts held on to win 64-56, it wasn’t necessarily a smooth finish, as Zion threatened late in the game thanks to some big three-point shots. Nonetheless, Lake Forest (10-13, 5-6) held onto their lead and managed to secure their second straight North Suburban Conference win. At 7 p.m. Friday night, Lake Forest will head west to Mundelein High School in search for their third win in a row. As the Scouts gain momentum late in the season, they will hope to get junior guard Jake Fisher back before making a playoff run in which they could surprise many teams on the North Shore.