By Dan McGrath
Lake Forest was one of three Class 3-A or 4-A teams Leo handled with relative ease en route to a 3-1 showing at last season’s Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High in Elmhurst.
The 52-31 beating which the Scouts put on the Lions in the first round of this year’s “Tosh” on Monday, Dec. 26, was fairly indicative of how much Leo’s fortunes have changed in 12 months.
The Lions were shorthanded, with four players benched for disciplinary reasons. They had more turnovers (five) than baskets (one) in a first-quarter sleepwalk which ended with them on the short end of a 12-2 score. Lake Forest was shorthanded itself, with Clemson signee Asa Thomas sitting with an ankle injury.
Sophomore Emmanuel Walker’s three-pointer got the Lions back within 10 as the third quarter opened, but two turnovers handed the Scouts five quick points, and their lead would never shrink below 15 again. Leo shot 33 percent for the game (10-for-30), was outrebounded 28-12 and committed 15 turnovers.
Lake Forest improved to 5-5, while Leo fell to 4-6 heading into Tuesday’s 10 a.m. meeting with Schaumburg (4-7) in the consolation bracket.
“That’s maybe a winnable game if we’re at full strength, but it’s more important that we instill discipline in this program,” Coach Jamille Ridley said. “We competed and I can’t fault the effort, but I’m disappointed in the selfishness that cost us four players.”
Senior Jachi Lewis worked his way to 11 points with seven rebounds and Amare Hall willed his way to nine points for the Lions. Lake Forest used 15 players and 13 of them scored, with Tommy Aberle collecting 14 points and Noah Portalatin contributing 13.