Boys basketball takes home MLK tournament championship

Boys basketball takes home MLK tournament championship

Jack Carrabine, Staff Writer

Over this past weekend, the boy’s varsity basketball team competed in the annual Martin Luther King Classic Championship hosted by Lake Forest High School and Deerfield High School.

After coming up short last year and getting third place in the tournament, the Scouts were looking for revenge and to prove themselves to the rest of the state.

To redeem themselves this year in the tournament, senior Asa Thomas said, “We had a great week of practice and preparation before the tournament and we were implementing that we worked on in practice for the upcoming games.”

The importance of the tournament goes beyond winning the championship but also plays a pivotal role in the seeding round for the state tournament. 

“So we were locked in ready to make a statement the whole week,” said senior Anthony Mordini.

In recent games, prior to the tournament, the boy’s varsity basketball team has been winning crucial conference games against Warren Township High School and Mundelein High School. 

As Mordini says the new team motto for this new year has been “new year new us”.

This mass wave of momentum needed to be carried into the holiday weekend where they would play powerhouse schools like Grayslake Central in the first round. 

Entering the first game the Scouts knew the strength of their schedule and the importance of “understanding your individual jobs” was crucial and the rest would “take care of itself”, said junior Tommie Aberle.

Heading into the game Grayslake Central had an impressive 16-1 overall record. 

“We knew that this game was going to be tough and they gave us trouble with their height but we used our quickness against it to overcome their height,” said Aberle

From this game plan, the Scouts were able to hand the Rams their only second loss of the year. The Scouts beat the Rams by a commanding 55-34 score with Aberle leading the way for the Scouts accounting for 24 of the 55 points, along with 6 rebounds. Followed by the Scouts’ Thomas who had 18 points and 11 boards.

After the first-round win against the Grayslake Rams, the Scouts were set to play a very strong Boylan Catholic with a record of 13-7. In this semi-final game, the Scouts took a strong lead from the get-go. 

Once again it was Aberle and Thomas paving the path to the championship game with Aberle having 26 points and 11 boards. While Thomas had 7 rebounds and a crazy 3 blocks during the game. 

The only team that was left on their path to victory was the 14-4 Deerfield Warriors. The out-of-conference rival is only a 10-minute drive down Waukegan road.

The championship was neck and neck throughout the entirety of the game. 

Due to Deerfield’s “unique defensive play style,” it was tough to break at first “but we got used to it and were able to find and attack at their weak points,” said Mordini. 

However, with the excellent coaching from Coach Lascala, the Scouts prevailed winning 61-50. Thomas led the team to the championship with 25 points and 6 rebounds. Alongside, was Aberle who managed to put up 15 points with 5 boards. Defensive was the sole focus for the Scouts as they entered this tournament and the hard work that comes with a lockdown defense paid off.

“I think we have really improved a lot defensively and that was the key for us to win the tournament this year,” said Aberle.

As well as the big man in the paint Mordini, where scrappiness and gritty play allowed him to score 6 points with 5 rebounds.

This victory was not only important to the team to win after coming up short last year, but it sends a message to the rest of the state that the Scouts are a team to be worried about. 

As coach Lascala said “This tournament will help bring momentum and build confidence for the team” heading into the back half of the season and showed how the “defense got more fundamental and rebounding the ball has gotten better.”

The championship will give the Scouts the momentum that they will need for these crucial upcoming conference games. The Scouts are set to play Waukegan High School at Waukegan this Friday. Followed by an always highly intense game against The Team Out West next Tuesday.