For three and a half quarters, Lake Forest used size to its advantage, controlling the paint on both offense and defense.
St. Viator flipped the script for a short period late in cutting a 16-point fourth quarter deficit down to 6, but ultimately it wasn't enough as 6-foot-7 Evan Boudreaux scored a game-high 25 points and 6-foot-9 Sam Downey added 17 points in Lake Forest's 66-53 victory in Arlington Heights.
"We finally started selling out and flying around, but it was too little, too late," said St. Viator's Kevin Hammarlund, who scored a team-high 14 points. "We should have done that a lot earlier. We needed that from the start."
Lake Forest (12-3) boasted four starters 6-foot-4 or taller, and none was more imposing than the highly regarded sophomore Boudreaux.
The Lions (13-4) used 6-foot-3 Ore Arogundade on Boudreaux and the Scouts worked a high-low game with Downey for most of evening.
"Evan is a good player," Arogundade said of his former AAU teammate. "It's hard because he's strong. I had to use my quickness to get around him. The size was a little bit too much tonight."
"They're a really quick team," Boudreaux said of the Lions after hauling in 13 rebounds. "They don't have a lot of height, but they make up for it by being tough. They have great shooters. They were tough to guard with our size, but I think we created the bigger mismatch."
Early on, it was St. Viator who used a mismatch advantage. Arogundade scored 10 of his 13 points in the opening quarter, staking the Lions to a 14-12 advantage.
But Lake Forest shot 7-for-10 in the second quarter and a 15-4 run helped them to a 29-22 halftime lead.
"We played into their hands," said St. Viator coach Mike Howland. "They're good at what they do. When you let them play their game, they're going to grind you down. That's what it felt like tonight."
The Scouts increased their lead to 55-39 with 4:08 left in the game but the Lions came roaring back as a Patrick Martin 3-pointer, two Hammarlund layups and a jumper from Mark Falotico made it a 7-point game in just 54 seconds.
Falotico's basket with 1:39 got St. Viator as close as it would get at 57-51.
Boudreaux, who was greeted by Northwestern associate head coach Tavaras Hardy outside the locker room after the game, scored 13 points in that final quarter, including a 3-pointer and later a dunk with 39 seconds left.
This was just the first of a five-game stretch in which St. Viator plays Marian Catholic (19-2), Notre Dame (15-5), Benet (18-3) and New Trier (17-4).
"We're going to have to regroup, focus and bring a lot of energy," Hammarlund said. "We can't have another night like this."
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