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Evan Boudreaux pushes Lake Forest past rival Highland Park in York quarterfinal

Nothing sharpens focus like the bitterness of defeat.

“After what they did to us in the regionals last year, everybody had last year on their mind and came out with a lot of extra fire at the start of the game,” Lake Forest star forward Evan Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux registered game-high marks of 28 points and 13 rebounds as No. 8 Lake Forest ran off to a hot start and withstood Highland Park’s inevitable rally for the 51-43 quarterfinal victory at the Jack Tosh Classic at York on Monday.

The defending tournament champion Scouts (12-0) advance to the semifinal round. They also vanquished the memories of Highland Park’s stunning 48-39 victory in a Class 4A regional title last year.

The rivalry is also intensified by the proximity of the two programs. “We’ve been playing with and against each other for probably 10 years, in club, and in the summer,” Boudreaux said. Lake Forest scored the first 12 points as Boudreaux showcased a dangerous array of drives and pull up jumpers. He scored 11 points in the first quarter.

“We had the size advantage and the post advantage, not just me, but the whole team, and we were able to take advantage of that out there,” Boudreaux said.

Noah Karras backed Boudreaux by converting four three-pointers in scoring 16 points. The inside/outside combination enabled Lake Forest to never trail. “That’s a tough team to chase,” Highland Park coach Paul Harris said.

Highland Park (8-3) went scoreless for more than five minutes in falling behind 19-6 after the first quarter. The Giants had the grit, fortitude and toughness to find their path and storm back behind the superb guard tandem of point guard David Sachs (13 points, five assists, three steals) and Luke Norcia (19 points on three three-pointers).

Norcia drilled a three-pointer, and Sachs recorded a steal and lay up to end the third quarter as Highland Park pulled within 36-31, setting up a dramatic final quarter.

Norcia and Sachs alternated three-pointers that pulled the Giants within 41-40 with just under five minutes to play. The dynamics changed on the ensuing possession. Boudreaux acquired a loose ball off a Lake Forest miss and was fouled going to the basket.

He converted both free throws. Psychologically the damage was done. Highland Park missed seven consecutive shots, its three-point barrage turning up short at several key junctures. “It would have been nice to get a chance to play with the lead in those last minutes,” Harris said.

Guard Jake Traynor, returning from a football injury, did not score but played tough defense and recorded a crucial assist on a basket by sophomore forward Lorenzo Edwards for a 45-40 lead with just over three minutes to play.

“We did a good job of running our offense and getting the ball inside,” Boudreaux said. “This is the first game, and we know for sure we’re going to play them twice this year and maybe another [in the state tournament].

“They cut it to one, and we made big plays when we had to,” he said.