Scouts set to take on undefeated St. Viator in home opener

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Bobby Winebrenner

Tonight at 7:00 all eyes will be on the Competition Gym where Saint Viator takes on Lake Forest in the home opener. The Scouts (2-2) earned wins over Butler Prep and U-High. They didn’t perform up to their full capability as a group in the opening Thanksgiving tournament, but that’s to be expected for the first couple of games. However, hopefully after a lengthy break between games, the Scouts utilize the extra gameplanning time to fully prepare for the undefeated Lions of St. Viator.

Lake Forest is headlined by seniors Ben Gibson and Mead Payne. Gibson, a 6’5 forward, played very consistent in the opening tournament, averaging 15.2 points per game. After not playing much his junior year, many expect his final campaign to be much different after lots of improvement, physically and in basketball acumen. Payne, on the other hand, showed flashes of his potential in the blue and gold over the holiday as he racked up 20 and 26 points, compiling altogether a season average of 13.8 PPG as well as 7.0 rebounds per game thus far. But also, Payne is expected to play more consistently as he finished with single digit point totals in two of their games. Coach LaScala also has seniors Sean Trkla, Jed Thomas, Jack VanHyfte, Drew Arnson, and Kyle Waggoner in the fold. That supporting cast, along with the couple juniors who see time–including reserve guard Jake Fisher–will be pivotal in determining tonight’s winner.

Saint Viator is coming off a 4-0 start with impressive wins over Prospect, Libertyville, Highland Park, and Conant. Led by talented junior swingman Jeremiah Hernandez, who has received a couple offers from various Division 1 schools, the Lions will be a very tough opponent. Viator also has two other very skilled players in Treyvon Calvin and Peter Lambesis. Although it is tough to project a team’s performance ability after playing a mere 4 game tournament, St. Viator has impressed in every chance they’ve gotten, and looks to be a very formidable opponent for the Scouts.

For Lake Forest to push their record above .500 they’ll need another big game from their leaders, a spark from their supporting cast, and the Competition Crazies of Scout Nation to be in full force in a white out. Even in their two losses, Coach LaScala’s team showed glimpses that made LF fans expect wins. Tonight, the Scouts must put a full four quarters together to come out with the W.

If you can’t make it to tonight’s contest, be sure to follow the game live on Twitter @LFHoops.