After losing to them twice in the regular season, Lake Forest wanted a shot at revenge against top-seeded Stevenson in the sectional final. Senior forward Evan Boudreaux made sure the Scouts will get it.
Boudreaux was a force in the paint on both ends of the floor, leading Lake Forest to a 54-47 victory over Evanston on Wednesday night in the 4A sectional semifinal at Waukegan. The win sets up a title game versus Stevenson on Friday, as the Scouts will have a chance to beat the only opponent to knock them off this season.
“(Evan) has a heart of a lion, and there was no way we’re going to lose that game on boards thanks to him,” Lake Forest coach Phil LaScala said. “Every single loose ball at the end of the game was his.”
Boudreaux finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds, proving to be the physical presence the Scouts needed to fend off an Evanston comeback. Nine of the rebounds came in the fourth quarter, after a Wildkits run cut the Scouts’ lead – which had been as much as 13 points in the first half – to just three.
“I think all of us seniors were excited, because we know every game could be our last, so we are going to leave nothing on the court,” Boudreaux said. “We knew it was going to be a good game. Evanston was never out of the game no matter how much we were up, and so when they cut it to three we just had to calm down.”
Evanston’s full-court pressure caused problems for the Scouts, as Lake Forest (28-2) turned the ball over repeatedly to allow the Wildkits back in the game. But on the other end, the Scouts had superior length, making life difficult for Evanston’s young players.
Lake Forest guard Steve Vogrich had the task of slowing down Evanston’s Nojel Eastern, and the Scout senior used his three-inch height advantage and impressive length to make life difficult for the hyped sophomore. LaScala called Vogrich the team’s best on-ball defender, and hinted Vogrich may have the assignment of slowing down Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson on Friday night.
“I felt like I could pressure (Eastern) because I knew I had help in the paint,” Vogrich said. “It was just really awesome.”
The young Wildkits (20-9), who play five sophomores in their rotation, had chances to take control of the game. However trouble at the free-throw line did Evanston in. The team finished 10-for-18 from the line in the second half, taking some much-needed points off the scoreboard.
Eastern finished with 18 points to lead his team in scoring.