Scouts take on Conant in Regional Semifinal


Bobby Winebrenner

After demolishing their latest opponent, Round Lake, the Scouts face a much tougher challenge tonight. They square off against the Conant Cougars from Hoffman Estates, the #5 seed in the Lake Zurich Sectional. Their opponent prides themselves on solid interior play, coming in with a 20-7 record, and haven’t lost since February 2. The game will be played at Deerfield High School at 7:30 again, for the rights to play the winner of Libertyville and Deerfield, the other IHSA Regional Semifinal. The contest has win-or-go-home stakes that are all too real for the seniors on both sides.

The Cougars are certainly the favorite tonight. They’re riding a 4-game win streak and haven’t scored below 50 points since December 16. On the contrary, the Scouts are averaging just below 50 prior to Monday night’s high scoring win. Conant’s led by 6’9” forward Ryan Davis, who commands the ball and is able to attract multiple defenders to account for his interior presence. Defenses are forced to close in on Davis, who can excel in Conant’s inside-out offense. On the other side of the court, Davis is a menace at the rim and makes things difficult for opposing guards driving to the rim past the Cougars 1-2-2 zone defense. The Cougars have played two comparative opponents with Lake Forest this season, as they’ve lost to St. Viator and Libertyville in overtime, very similar outcomes to Lake Forest’s.

Lake Forest’s big win over Round Lake allowed some of their reserves to see some minutes and excel. Most notably, Michael Pasquella, a junior guard, finished with 12 points, and big man Kyle Waggoner provided 10. They scored a total of 72 points and will need similar point production against the high-scoring Conant Cougars. Centers Mead Payne and Drew Arnson will have their hands full tonight against Davis and will likely ultimately be the deciding factor in who comes out with a win tonight.

Make the drive to Deerfield High School tonight at 7:30pm to watch the Scouts play in a do-or-die game to extend their season.