It has been two seasons since Lake Forest High School's basketball team won 23 games and a regional championship.
The stars of that team are long gone -- Matt Vogrich, Jonathan Sobinsky and Kevin Berardini. Although replacing that core would be a challenge for any team, it has proved to be more difficult than expected for head coach Phil LaScala.
After winning 15 games in 2009-2010, the Scouts won 13 last season, including just three in the North Suburban Conference. But with the return of several experienced players and an injection of youth, Lake Forest should be improved in 2011-12.
Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch caught up with Scouts coach Phil LaScala before a recent summer league game at Loyola Academy.
What are you guys doing here?
Its a summer league. We play two games every night, Monday and Wednesday. There are 12 teams in the league. We also play on Tuesdays up at College of Lake County. These are kids trying to make the varsity or were on varsity last year. There are even a couple of entering freshman.
What are you looking for?
It’s time to build your team. You have guys that have never played together before. Lots of sophomores-to-be juniors and then seniors who have played together but have never played with the younger kids. You are trying to get the kids to be introduced to each other on the floor, start building your team, what we want to do as far as our philosophy and what we do as a team. Summer is a huge time for our guys to come together now and understand our philosophy offensively and defensively.
Last year was a bit disappointing with a losing record overall and just three wins in the conference
It was a little disturbing as far as what we’ve been doing the past few years. We were really, really young. When you lose a large part of your scoring and senior leadership like we did the year before, it’s tough to replace. I think we saw it. They thought that success would just come and you have to earn it. We didn’t earn it as well. As much as you tell them every night in our league is a battle. They are getting it now.
Carter Bass had a really good sophomore season (honorable mention all-conference). What’s next for Carter?
One of the things about Carter is all his life he’s played a lot inside. He’s been a 6-foor-2 inside player, and I think he can do more than that. He can step outside and play a wing for us as well, help his overall game and help our team. One of the things he provides is he does a lot of things on the basketball court. He led our team last year in taking charges. Tied for the lead in rebounds. He can do some other things besides just score. He’s getting a lot more aggressive in having confidence in himself. He’s realizing I’m a junior and I have to step up a bit.
What about Thomas Durrett?
He’s done a lot better job moving without the basketball and getting himself open. He realizes our league is very physical and guys are going to to guard him very easily if he doesn’t move well without the basketball. The more he keeps growing in that aspect, the better player he’s going to be. He’ll be able to create opportunities for himself and others as well.
Creighton Titus has been a project for a number of years. How is he developing?
He keeps getting better every year. You look where he was last year at this time and it’s night and day. He has some growth and he knows that, but he works extremely hard at it. The biggest thing with him and he knows it is getting his confidence to where he needs to get it to. Once he does that, he will be a really good player for us.
Who are some up and coming Scouts to look for next season? You can watch the rest of our interview with Scouts coach Phil LaScala by going to our Facebook page at facebook.com/lakeforestlbpatch.