Lake Forest too much for Grayslake Central
If Grayslake Central was to continue its most successful postseason in a decade it needed to find a way to contain a Lake Forest offense that despite averaging just under 58 points a game had crossed that plateau 14 times during the season, even scoring 70 points or more on five occasions during the season.
Despite an effort that held the Scouts 10 points below their average, top-seeded Lake Forest built a containment structure that proved to be more than successful in emerging victorious 48-27 in Tuesday's Class 3A North Chicago sectional semifinal over the sixth-seeded Rams.
It was the 13th straight win for Lake Forest (27-6), which advances to Friday night's final where it will face Wednesday's semifinal winner between No. St. Patrick (21-10) and No. 5 Carmel (22-10).
It marks the Scouts' first Sweet 16 appearance since 2015.
The Scouts established control from the beginning as they used a three-headed scoring attack featuring sophomore guard Tommy Aberle, junior swingman Asa Thomas, and senior Alex Forowycz in building a 15-8 lead after one quarter.
That lead became 23-15 at halftime as they limited Central (22-12) to just 5 of 17 from the floor in the first 16 minutes of play.
Any hopes the Rams had were quashed with an 8-0 run Lake Forest had prior to the third quarter mask break that left it comfortably ahead 31-15 at the 3:50 mark.
Aberle (game-high 12 points) credited his teammates with successful ball movement that got himself and the rest of the team clicking.
"My teammates gave me a lot of good looks. It opens up a lot of things offensively," he said.
Thomas followed up with 11 points and Forowycz finished with 10. Rams junior guard Dennis Estepp led his team with 8 points as the Rams finished the night 9 of 34 (26%) shooting.
Central coach Brian Centella praised his squad's effort on the season as he took time to allow every player to speak in the locker room after the game's conclusion.
"I just thanked our seniors. It's a really special group," Centella said. "I don't think it's a group where things have come easy for them. They've really expanded their games, worked really hard, did all the little things, so I started by thanking them. I said thank you to our younger guys and to make sure they understood that this senior group really set a high bar that we're going to continue to strive for. We certainly would've loved to win tonight, but 22 wins and a regional title is a lot to be proud of."