Scouts Make History; Capture School’s First Ever Sectional Title

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Scouts Make History; Capture School’s First Ever Sectional Title

Eddie Scheidler, Girls' Basketball Beat Reporter

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LIBERTYVILLE, ILL. – Playing at home never hurts. To hit the hardwood in the comfort of a familiar setting in front of friends and family is about as good as it gets. And more times than not, the energy and intensity they bring can carry a team for miles on end. Despite playing on the road, the Comp Crazies traveled to Libertyville and made Thursday’s Sectional Title game feel as if it was just any other traditional home contest. Feeding off of the unprecedented level of enthusiasm radiating within the confines of the gym, Coach Kyle Wilhelm’s group soaked up every last bit of momentum they could en route to a historic 49-43 win over top-seeded Fremd.

In a battle of the No. 1 and 2 seeds, a defensive showcase unveiled from the tip-off up and carried until the first quarter’s closing. For the Scouts, defensive rotations were happening almost instinctively and Coach Dave Yates’s Vikings struggled to find any sort of offensive rhythm. Little scoring was done by either side but Fremd possessed a four point advantage. When the opening period was all said and done, Lake Forest found themselves trailing by a score of 9-5.

With the two teams going neck-and-neck, unable to pull away from the other, Fremd took it upon themselves to change the narrative of the contest. Cashing in on several defensive lapses from Wilhelm’s bunch, the No. 1 seed jumped to an early 13-5 lead just minutes into the second. But before the Vikings could get their hopes up, junior Halle Douglass caught fire. Connecting on a 3-point dagger from the top of the arc before drilling back-to-back midrange looks, Lake Forest set foot on a 14-4 run to conclude the first half holding a 19-17 edge.

Following the break, mojo was clearly in the Scouts’ hands; there’s no two ways about it. As the traveling student section eclipsed in royal blue and gold dialed up their chants, the underdog Scouts did the same on the court with their play. In Lake Forest’s first offensive trip of the third period, sophomore Molly Fisher came off a screen to set herself up for an uncontested corner three. In the ensuing possession, after Douglass had sent two straight Viking shots back in every direction but that of the rim, senior Ellie Pearson ran the break before burying a triple in the face of a defender. At the end of the third, Wilhelm’s bunch was on top by two, the score 29-27.

With the makings of a game going down to the wire, Lake Forest and Fremd fans alike prepped themselves for a true nail-biter. Knowing all that was at stake, the Scouts continued to amp up their play in every which way. In just two minutes of the fourth and final period, the Vikings aimlessly passed the ball around the perimeter, unable to get a single look relatively close to inside the paint. Flustered, Yates burned a timeout in the hopes of finding an answer to a relentless Lake Forest defensive effort. Unfortunately for the top-seeded team, two quick turnovers forced by Douglass and sophomore Finola Summerville resulted in yet another agitated timeout for the Vikings. And just like that, the Scouts turned those missed opportunities into points of their own. As the clock hit the 2:30 minute mark, the No. 2 seed extended the difference to eight, 40-32.

From then on, that appeared to be all she wrote. Dealing with foul-trouble for the majority of the game, Fremd sent a blazing-hot Scouts team into the double bonus with 1:24 to go. Making the most of their trips to the charity stripe–sinking 20-26 of their attempts (77%)–Lake Forest soon went on to ice the game and secure the Sectional Title.

For the Scouts, every player to check into the contest contributed to the all-around win in one way or another. Leading all scorers on the night was Douglass, totalling 18 points, five assists, and three blocks. Not to mention, Douglass was about the last person you’d want to send to the foul-line as she shot a near-perfect 11-12. Pearson and Fisher had 9 apiece, each drilling a pair of 3-point field goals.

All things considered, it was their defensive performance and free-throw shooting that not only gave the Scouts a program-best 27th win but bought them a ticket to the Super-Sectionals Monday night. In what will be their toughest opponent to date, Wilhelm’s team matches up against an undefeated Maine West team. Currently standing at an impressive 32-0, Coach Kim Demarigny’s group is ranked the second-best team in the state according to Maxpreps.com. The two teams will battle for a trip to the state’s final four at Palatine High School at 7 pm in what will undeniably be a game worth attending.