Scouts steamroll St. Viator in home opener


Bobby Winebrenner

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Thursday night couldn’t have gone much better for Lake Forest boys basketball. It was their home opener, so they drew a large crowd of rowdy students, partially dressed in white for the “whiteout.” It was also Teacher Appreciation Night; the spectacular teachers of Lake Forest High School were recognized at halftime. Oh, and they played great basketball, sabotaging St. Viator’s short-lived undefeated season.

The Scouts took down the Lions of St. Viator by a score of 71-54. Although for most of the game it felt much closer than that. The first half was filled with back and forth basketball, one team taking the lead over the other on seemingly every possession. But whatever Coach LaScala said in that halftime locker room worked. Lake Forest took a 29-28 lead into halftime after a Jake Fisher layup gave the Scouts the one point lead with five seconds remaining in the second quarter. That lead was wiped away soon as Treyvon Calvin from St. Viator drilled a three to open the third quarter and give the Lions the two point lead. But Lake Forest guard Jack VanHyfte went right back and hit a three of his own to take the elusive lead right back. And from then on, it was all Lake Forest.

The Scouts (3-2) outscored St. Viator 18-4 in the third quarter, propelling them to their 3rd victory of the year. The second half of the game featured lots of physicality, resulting in numerous free-throws for both squads. Lake Forest centers Mead Payne and Drew Arnson controlled the paint for much of the game, operating at will over the much smaller Lion defenders. Their interior dominance was shown in the box score as Payne led the Scouts in scoring with 19. He was also able to obtain many “and-1” opportunities, rousing Scout Nation and the “Comp Crazies.” Payne wasn’t the only one, however, as Ben Gibson shot a perfect 6-6 from the field, resulting in 15 points to go along with his 11 rebounds, an impressive double-double from the swingman. Jake Fisher played his spark off the bench role perfectly, as he nailed a 3 midway through the first quarter. Late in the third quarter, however, was Fisher’s biggest moment. He gave the Scouts some more momentum as he hit yet another 3 to push the LF lead to 13. The junior totaled 12 points and 4 assists, exciting the students every chance he got. St. Viator came into the game riding high after a season opening tournament championship win. Their go-to-guy, Jeremiah Hernandez, was unable to get anything going as Lake Forest guards Sean Trkla and Jed Thomas played excellent defense on the heralded prospect.

All in all, this was a great performance from Coach LaScala’s team. Many came into this one expecting a tight game–or even a Viator win–but the Scouts left with a double digit victory. Lake Forest welcomes their conference rival, the Stevenson Patriots, into the Competition Gym this coming Tuesday (Dec 5) at 7:00 for what will certainly be another thriller between the rivals.