What began as a love affair with basketball for Carter Bass and John Hayes as early as first grade in the Lake Bluff Recreation Department program has grown to fruition on this season’s Lake Forest High School boys’ basketball team.
Bass and Hayes have shown signs of breaking out all year, but it was never more evident than in Friday’s 71-58 win at Libertyville to give the Scouts their first North Suburban Conference Lakes victory and bring their record to 7-9 for the season.
Hayes, a junior in his first varsity season, began his career as a first grader in Lake Bluff while Bass, a sophomore who played sparingly with the varsity a year ago, joined the program in third grade.
“Practicing against each other makes a big difference,” said Hayes, referring to the way he and Bass have been pushing each other in workouts all season.
Intensity in the daily routine is Scouts coach Phil LaScala’s design. He is inserting more and more players in games for significant minutes, rarely using the same starting lineup to give younger athletes like Bass and Hayes an opportunity to develop.
“John (Hayes) has been giving us a great effort in practice and now it shows in the games. He’s creating offensive opportunities and his defense is good, too,” said LaScala.
Hayes hit a three-point shot and added a three-point play in the first quarter to quell a pair of opposing surges and put the Scouts in command of the game. He also went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to help dispatch Libertyville, and finished with 12 points.
Bass accelerated his game in the second half, scoring 12 of his 14 points after intermission by driving to the basket for layups just as he did last week against Zion Benton. He hit 9 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter of that contest. Friday he had eight in the final stanza.
“Carter (Bass) is developing into the player we knew he could be,” said LaScala. “Last year he was a role player but now he’s expected to do more and he does.”
Bass credits LaScala for instilling his newfound confidence that helped his inside game grow along with his strength on defense.
“Coach (LaScala) told me to be more aggressive. He said I wouldn’t be taken out of the game for being too aggressive,” said Bass. “It makes it easier to be aggressive when you have the coach’s permission.”
The Scouts’ depth is starting to show as four players scored in double figures against Libeertyville — Durrett (16 points), Schwartz (12 points), Bass and Hayes.
“We’re using more and more players and that makes us fresher in the fourth quarter,” said LaScala explaining the Scouts 15-6 run in the first six minutes of the final period that secured the victory over Libertyville.
Bass played football as a freshman, but this year decided to concentrate solely on basketball. Hayes continues to split his duties between tennis and basketball.
“During basketball season I concentrate on basketball and in tennis season I concentrate on tennis,” said Hayes of his ability to handle the two activities. “During the offseason I work on both.”