The Forest Scout 2017-18 Girls Basketball Preview

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John Torosian

With practices starting soon in the middle of next week, it’s finally time to say that the varsity girls basketball team, led by Mr. Kyle Wilhelm, is gearing up for another successful season. The team lost two seniors during the offseason due to graduation, one of those being the all-time leader in assists and steals as well as the MVP of last year’s team, Delaney Williams. It’ll take some time for the players and staff to adjust to a new lineup without Williams, seeing as she was a four-year varsity starter, but Wilhelm and Co. will have plenty to work with in 2017-18. The Scouts’ team still has five guards remaining from last year’s roster and are looking to fill the void left by Williams and shooting guard Tori Salanty. Junior Grace Tirzmalis told the Forest Scout, “It’s definitely tough losing great players like Delaney and Tori, but we’ve still got some incredible talent this year.” 

Leading this year’s group will be Halle Douglass, an all-NSC performer a year ago who will play a huge role for the Scouts this season. Douglass, who is now in her sophomore campaign, had a fantastic summer on the club basketball circuit and is accruing Divison-1 level interest from a variety of schools. A 6’0″ do-it-all floor general with length, athleticism, and skill, Douglass has a chance to become one of the high school’s most decorated players of all-time by the time her high school career is complete. 

While having some shooting specialists on the team is important, it would appear that rebounding has been the emphasis on the team for the last few years. Thus, possessing height on the roster is extremely important. Luckily, six returning players are 6’0” or above. A major force of the 6-foot club is Maeve Summerville, the all-time leading rebounder for the girls basketball program who just recently committed to DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana to continue her career in college. Summerville will be playing in her last season this year and will undoubtedly have a major impact, albeit after a knee injury keeps her sidelined until at least after the winter holiday tournaments. Joining her in the front court will be 6’1″ junior Ellie Pearson and 5’11” senior Audrey Kaus, who recently committed to the University of Chicago for lacrosse; both players have experience and size in the post. Kaus, a tenacious competitor–especially on defense–will be key for the Scouts’ toughness factor late in games. Adding on to that lineup will be 6’0″ Grace Tirzmalis, a seasoned varsity player, and Olivia Douglass, who proved to be a reliable role player for the Scouts a season ago. 

Projected Lineup:

Halle Douglass, 6’0″ guard

Audrey Kaus, 5’11” guard

Olivia Douglass, 6’0″ forward

Grace Tirzmalis, 6’0″ forward

Ellie Pearson, 6’0″ forward

Other returners from last year’s squad include guards Annie Aberle, Caroline Skinner, Taylor Conley, and Victoria Giordano, all seniors this season, and another 6’0″ post player, Jen Whittington. There are also a few newcomers on this year’s team that will help push the needle forward for the girls basketball program here at the high school. Freshmen Lily Trkla and Finola Summerville both have an outside chance of seeing varsity minutes if they are able to earn their keep in practice. Though Coach Wilhelm could not be reached for comment, it is likely that he will have to wait until after tryouts to further assess the roles of Trkla and the younger Summerville on the 2017-18 squad.

Last year, after going an improved (8-4) in conference regular season play, the Scouts defeated Warren to claim their first Regional title in 12 years. Following that was a loss against a talented Hersey team in the Sectional Semifinals, ending their season. Tirzmalis agreed that last year’s final result was a bit disappointing, but was nonetheless still psyched for the upcoming season. “I like our odds,” she told me. “We have a lot of players with added experience on this year’s team.”

Tryouts for the Scouts start next week on October 30th. After two weeks of practice, the girls will take on Lake Forest Academy at the Vernon Hills Thanksgiving Tournament on November 13. Games against Vernon Hills and Antioch follow the LFA matchup on November 16th and 17th, respectively.  The first home game is November 28th against Mundelein, but the matchup many are looking forward to most will be on December 6 at 7:00 against the Patriots of Adlai E. Stevenson High School. The Scouts lost by just six points to Stevenson last year, and the fact that the Scouts led 10-4 in the second quarter made this loss even more disappointing. Varsity girls basketball will play a three-and-a-half month season culminating with Regionals, Sectionals, Super Sectionals, and the IHSA State Finals in late February.

Eight players on this year’s team will be playing in their final season with the Scouts, so make sure to make it to a game and support LFHS girls varsity basketball as they embark on another exciting season.