Lake Forest Academy savors victory over St. Viator
Being an associate member of the IHSA, Lake Forest Academy does not compete in a conference or the postseason state tournament.
"So playing in these kind of tournaments (Monday's Season's End, at Fenton High School) is great for us," said Lake Forest Academy girls basketball coach Chris Tennyson. "We are so appreciative when we get invited because these are fun for us."
And when you are winning, the fun is even greater.
The Caxys are now 2-0 in the tourney and 12-1 for the season after a 48-45 victory over St. Viator.
Coach Paul Missavage's Lions gave Lake Forest Academy its closest call of any of its 12 wins.
St. Viator, which trailed by 9 points in the first quarter and by as many as 8 in the fourth period, took the game to the final buzzer where a 3-pointer to tie was just off the mark.
"They're a really good team," Tennyson said of the Lions. "They play hard. We gave them some putbacks they hit some big shots."
Hitting most of the shots for the Caxys was 5-foot-10 junior standout Theresa Onwuka, who Tennyson said is getting some looks from Division I recruiters.
Onwuka, who is originally from Nigeria, scored a game-high 24 points and was a force on the boards.
"They put a box and one on her so that took her away a little but it was great that we had some other kids step," Tennyson said. "This was a nice win for us."
Lake Forest's only loss is to Vernon Hills.
"You've got to hand it to them -- you've got to respect them," Missavage said. "Their coach is doing a good job.
"That girl (Onwuka) is tough. She was a handful. We went to a box and one but they handled it pretty well. They had some secondary kids hit shots."
Olivia Solimene hit some big shots for the Lions, including a pair of 3-pointers.
The freshman finished with a career-high 10 points, leading the Lions in scoring for the first time while making her second start.
"Olivia is doing great," Missavage said. " This was her second game today. She played in a junior varsity game earlier. And she was still going strong in our game. She is the ever-ready battery."
Also putting a charge in to the Lions' offense were freshman Myia Clark, freshman Grace McNamara, senior Kayne Stanley and senior Molly Murphy, who all finished with 7 points.
The Lions trailed 41-33 with under 4:30 to play when Stanley found Clark on the baseline.
The freshman drove the for a layup, and went on to score 5 unanswered points to get the Lions to within 41-38 with 3:35 left.
But St. Viator could never get closer.
"We're OK, I'm not complaining," said Missavage, whose team held a 10-point lead over Providence Catholic in the third quarter on Saturday before falling 54-43. "We've just got to put more points on the board."