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Lake Forest's Evan Boudreaux shoots a three over Stevenson's Adam Cohen. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
When the Lake Forest boys basketball team’s holiday tournament ended Dec. 29, the Scouts had 13 days off before their next game.
Coach Phil LaScala spent part of that time watching film. He popped in game tapes from last season — when the Scouts won seven of their last nine, including a Class 4A regional championship — hoping to help this year’s team, which LaScala thought was capable of more despite its 10-3 start.
“I was watching highlights of last year of how well they were playing together at the end of the year,” LaScala said. “The early part of this year we were real hesitant with our passing.”
In one game, the Scouts went from hesitant to purposeful.
Friday’s 59-44 win over Lake Zurich provided a glimpse into LaScala’s vision of just how good Lake Forest can be. It started with Sam Downey, a 6-foot-9 senior, and Evan Boudreaux, a 6-7 sophomore. Both have games that augment the other and strengths that when actualized, present a hoops tour de force for the opposition.
“I like to do more backdoor post plays and (shoot) a hook shot,” Downey said. “(Evan) looks to get to the rim and finish. He can cut and is hard to stop.”
Boudreaux added: “(Sam) makes me a much better player because he’s going to draw a ton of attention as good and big as he is. When he’s able to recognize a double team and look for the open guy, it’s something to watch.”
The differing skill sets — Downey’s polished finesse and Boudreaux’s raw power — make for artistic basketball when they’re both working inside the paint.
Against Lake Zurich Friday, Lake Forest took control of the game during a 15-3 run to start the second half. Over that stretch, Downey and Boudreaux scored 12 points, dropping assists to each other as if they were playing a schoolyard two-on-five game.
It wasn’t complicated — the Scouts were running a simple high-low play with either Boudreaux or Downey up top or down low. The unselfish chemistry between the two was an example of Lake Forest at its best.
“Our guys are really starting to understand where our bread is buttered,” LaScala said. “They did a great job making extra passes.”
The stat line from Lake Zurich gave Boudreaux — who had missed the previous five games with a right ankle sprain — 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Downey had 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists (all of which were to Boudreaux).
Only a friendly game of horse might settle the stalemate.
“If it were hook shots, I would win,” Downey said with a chuckle. “Evan has everything else.”