Girls’ Basketball MLK Tournament Recap


Eddie Scheidler, Girls' Basketball Beat Reporter


LAKE FOREST, IL. – This year has been a season of accolades for the Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team. Nine-game win streak. Coach Kyle Wilhelm becomes the program’s winningest head coach of all-time. And now, after securing the the all-time assist record earlier on in the season, junior Halle Douglass does it again. Following Monday’s double-header in the 5th annual MLK tournament held at Lake Forest, Douglass recorded her 1000th career point, becoming the fourth player in school history to reach this milestone. Though best of all, she’s only a junior.

As far as tournament play goes, the Scouts won back-to-back games. Despite having Saturday’s matchups against both Grant and Palatine canceled due to severe weather conditions, Wilhelm’s group showed no signs of delay when it came time for tip-off Monday afternoon.


Game 1: 46-42 Win Over Buffalo Grove

In the first of the two-game stretch, it’s fair to say that the Scouts stalled early on. Totaling a mere three points in the opening six minutes of action is far from what we’ve come to expect from a highly versatile and lucrative Lake Forest offense. But after a rather stagnant start, Douglass sparked a 7-0 run for the home team after knifing through the Bison defense and sinking a tightly-contested layup. A corner three from senior Grace Tirzmalis and an effortless right-handed lay-in for Douglass ensued, narrowing the deficit to just two points as the quarter concluded with a score of 12-10.

Down to start the second quarter of play, Wilhelm’s team rode off Tirzmalis’s hot hand to keep its offense afloat. Knocking down a pair of triples in back-to-back offensive trips, the Scouts were able to keep pace with an efficient Buffalo Grove offense. The two teams entered the break as the Bison led with a score of 24-22.

Almost immediately, the Scouts presented a much stingier effort on the defensive end, pressuring the visiting offense to cough up several turnovers. A minute or two following intermission, sophomore Finola Summerville poked the ball out from the Bison backcourt before finding a cutting Douglass for the easy take around the rim, giving the Lake Forest their first lead of the game. Holding the opposing team to just four points in the third, the Scouts found themselves with a 29-28 lead over Buffalo Grove.

The fourth quarter saw a game that came down to the wire. Down by five with 2:18 left in regulation, sophomore Molly Fisher connected on a wide-open look from three-point land to bring the game within two. The very next possession, Douglass pick-pocketed a driving Bison guard before passing the ball off to senior Ellie Pearson in transition for the deuce to tie things up at 38 apiece. Relentless efforts on the defensive side of the hardwood prevented either team from being able to pull ahead the other in the remaining two minutes of play, sending the game into extra time. Overtime was a completely one-sided affair in favor of the home team in white. On top 44-38 with  1:52 left in extended time, Tirzmalis jumped a pass and took the ball coast to coast, officially putting the game out of reach.

Tirzmalis led the Scouts with 19 points and nine rebounds, going 3-4 (75%) from beyond the arc. Douglass chimed in with 18 points of her own and added nine rebounds as well. On the night, the two combined for 37 of the team’s 46 points, proving yet again to be one of the most impressive duos the North Suburban Conference has to offer.


Game 2: 42-28 Win Over Highland Park

In their second outing of the day, things seemed to go largely the way most Scouts’ fans had hoped: a sure-handed victory in the friendly confines of the Competition Gym. Outscoring the Giants in each of the four quarters, coach Kyle Wilhelm was able to rotate through several reserves and younger players to provide them with quality playing time and in-game experience.

Junior Halle Douglass put the Scouts on the board within the first few minutes of play as she drilled a difficult three-point shot with little to no cushion between herself and the defender. From then on, the Giants were able to keep matters close for the remainder of the first, as Lake Forest led 11-8.

With just under five minutes to go in the second quarter, Wilhelm’s bunch caught fire. Beginning with a strong finish by sophomore Finola Summerville through the heart of Highland Park’s defense, the hosts set foot on an 18-3 run that would carry deep past the break and into the third quarter of play. At intermission, the Scouts possessed a 23-16 edge over the visitors.

The third was no different than the first half as the home team benefited greatly from their size advantage. Seamlessly out-rebounding Highland Park 37-25, Lake Forest limited their opponents’ second-chance opportunities which in turn put the breaks on the scoring for the Giants. That–along with nine defensive steals, the majority of those coming in the second half–allowed Wilhelm and Co. to hold the visitors to just seven points in the quarter.

The fourth saw youngsters such as sophomores Mary McKendry and Olivia Witte make contributions of their own, as each made their mark in the scoring column with two points apiece. Junior Sydney Fitzgerald and senior Ainsley Allan saw considerable action on the hardwood as well, propelling the home team to a resounding all-around victory.

When it was all said and done, Douglass led all scorers with 15 points on 7-17 shooting (41%). Tirzmalis finished the night with 13 points, capitalizing on 45% of her looks (5-11). Senior Ellie Pearson collected six rebounds.


After having great success in Monday’s showing, the Scouts improve to 18-6, 6-3 on the year. Lake Forest returns to action tonight with its 7:00 pm conference test at home against the Mundelein Mustangs who currently sit at 7-16, 2-7.