Highland Park Ends Lake Forest’s Season Early


Bobby Winebrenner, Boys Basketball Beat Reporter

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — There isn’t a much worse feeling in one’s high school career than falling short of a goal and losing in the playoffs. The bus ride home, locker room realization, or the next day without practice are all events only a few can understand.

Last night, the team suffered that season-ending loss: 56-43 to Highland Park. The loss came in the first round of the Regional Playoffs, far too early for this team with higher expectations. The Giants led for virtually the entire game, sucking the life out of the Competition Gym from the get go.

The Giants were set in their established 3-2 zone from the opening tip. Everyone knew it was coming, but the Scouts didn’t have a consistent answer for it. Give Coach Paul Harris credit- his team executed their game plan efficiently and forced Lake Forest into things they weren’t comfortable doing.

Both teams followed a similar pattern from the start, three-pointers on nearly every possession in the first half and not a whole lot of dribbling. Highland Park just made more of those shots as they went up 22-19 after one half of play.

The third quarter followed a similar, competitive script. The opponents aimed to prevent one another from getting the ball down low so the two teams settled for deeper shots. Seniors Andrew Natinsky and Cole Beermann seemingly couldn’t miss from beyond the arc and forced Coach Phil LaScala’s Scouts to play catch up all night.

In the fourth quarter, Harris’ Giants figured out their opponent’s press and took advantage of it. They opened up the scoring and made it impossible for Lake Forest to keep up. Scouts’ senior guard Jake Fisher did his best to keep it close but ultimately the Blue and Gold came up short. Fisher finished with 27 of the team’s 43 points; the senior went 6-9 from three point land in his final varsity game and delivered as inspiring a performance as one could hope for.

Fisher is just one of the Scouts’ many seniors who gave this program everything they had over the past four years. Crawford Bolton, Michael Pasquella, Carter Horan, Jack Bender, Tommy Hanson, and Ethan Kurian all served as exceptional leaders and examples of the Lake Forest basketball program.

The loss caps off a whirlwind season for the Scouts including many ups and downs. Lake Forest finished the campaign at 11-16 with many notable wins to be proud of.