Scouts earn tough road win at Waukegan

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Bobby Winebrenner

WAUKEGAN, Ill. — The Lake Forest boys basketball team came into Wednesday night’s contest with confidence after their 1st North Suburban Conference win. The mojo garnered from Saturday’s tilt with Mundelein carried the Scouts all the way to a 58-48 victory over the Waukegan Bulldogs. The Scouts found out early that this matchup was going to be a battle. Trailing 13-10 after one quarter, LFHS fought back late in the second quarter and tied the game up at halftime. As the ball was inbounded to start the third period, the Scouts never looked back. A strong performance after halftime propelled Coach LaScala’s team to a 6-point lead heading into the final frame of the game. And for the second time in a row, Lake Forest buckled down and finished their opponent off.

Quite honestly, a month ago the Scouts probably would’ve lost this game. They would’ve been in it until the end, but they’d most likely walk away with a close defeat. However, after an 18-point drubbing of Mundelein and a 10-point victory over Waukegan, it looks like LFHS may have turned a corner. There are no moral victories in February and March, and Lake Forest seems to have learned that lesson.

Led by Mead Payne’s 21 point, 8 rebound performance, and Ben Gibson’s 20 points, the frontcourt played extremely well for the Scouts. Scoring nearly all of their 58 points from the free-throw line or inside the paint, the boys played up to the Bulldogs’ style of play. An aggressive, inside game was controlled by Lake Forest, who managed to outrebound the more athletic Waukegan team and also committed less turnovers than their opponent.Forward Kyle Waggoner led the team with four steals. Coach LaScala knew these were the types of things would be needed to secure the hard fought win: “Defense and rebounding were the key to our success tonight,” the head man noted in a post-game quote.

After appearing in an IHSA Sectional Final just a season ago, but now sitting at 3-4 in conference play, Waukegan’s record is a perfect indicator of just how competitive the NSC has become. Every night calls for a tough game and Saturday night will be no different for Lake Forest. The Scouts travel to Gurnee to face the Warren Blue Devils in what poses as a revenge opportunity for the Lake Forest boys basketball team, who looks to extend their season high two-game win streak.