Boys Basketball: 2019-20 Season Preview

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Boys Basketball: 2019-20 Season Preview

Connor Clark and Ryan Peters

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Last year’s basketball season ended bitterly for the Lake Forest Scouts when rival Highland Park sent them packing early with a first-round playoff loss. 

Eager for redemption, Coach Phil LaScala’s Scouts will hit the hardwood this winter with a young team and high expectations.

The Scouts are coming into the new season with a couple of key losses from last year’s senior class, including guard Jake Fisher and center Crawford Bolton. However, several returning players and talented newcomers will look to fill these roles. 

While the Scouts played quality basketball at the end of last season, they hope to improve on last season’s underwhelming 11-17 record and first-round playoff loss. Coach LaScala has a rare young squad that hopefully is ready for a deep playoff run.

 “We’ll be better than last year. We’ve got some young pieces that will play a big part for our team,” said senior center Stephen Young.

The Scouts have revamped their offense and are looking at several new rotation players to step up. The new offense is perimeter-oriented, placing an emphasis on outside shooting, versatility among the positions, and ball movement.

Returning seniors Grant Kaus and Andy Brown will anchor the backcourt to start the season, while Young and junior Jack Malloy will log heavy minutes in the frontcourt. Malloy, a member of the Varsity squad last year, is nursing an ankle injury and hopes to be ready for the first couple of games. 

Alongside returning senior Andrew Levin, several new Varsity players will be added to the rotation this year. This includes talented freshman forward Asa Thomas.

Thomas, a 6-4 wing, is a knockdown shooter who will be tasked with taking on a large role in the offense.

 “I think he can come in and make a difference right away,” said senior forward Carter Mitchell. “I think he’ll be able to spread the floor for us and open up some new options on offense.”

Other newcomers include junior centers Will Thomas and Gage Messner, who will provide the Scouts with large inside presences in the paint.

Additionally, sophomore Cade Nowik, who was brought up to the Varsity squad at the end of last season, will take on a larger role this year. Nowik is a scrappy defender and strong shooter who will look to make a large impact on the defensive end. 

“He’s undersized but he’s able to defend the 1-4. He’s a good rebounder, and he also offers a lot on the offensive end. He’s not flashy but he can put the ball in the basket,” said Mitchell. 

The Scouts face stiff competition in the North Suburban Conference this year. Most notably, perennial powerhouse Stevenson boasts a deep squad led by guard Matthew Ambrose. The Patriots, who lost in overtime in their super-sectional last season, have high hopes to make the trip down to Peoria in the spring for the State championship. 

Additionally, the Mundelein Mustangs, coming off of a 20-win season, are expected to be one of the top teams in the NSC. Junior guard Conor Enright, who recently committed to play college basketball at Drake, will lead the Mustangs as they build on last season’s success.   

The Scouts tip off their season at New Trier on Monday as part of the Loyola/New Trier Thanksgiving tournament. Their first opponent is the Mather Rangers, who are coming off of a 7-21 record in 2018-19. Be sure to make the trip out to New Trier to cheer on the Scouts as they kick off their campaign. 

Projected Starters:

Grant Kaus

Andy Brown

Asa Thomas

Jack Malloy

Stephen Young