A lot could be said about Halle Douglass.
Just when things were spinning out of control for the Lake Forest High School girls basketball team in the Class 4A regional title game at Warren on Feb. 17, the Scouts put the ball — and ultimately, the game — into the hands of their fearless freshman.
Douglass didn’t disappoint.
Her play went a long way in helping the Scouts pull off a 31-28 upset win over their arch rivals.
The last time Lake Forest won a regional title was during the 2004-05 season.
Things were looking bleak for the Scouts (23-8) until Douglass reeled off seven straight points at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter. Her three free throws and two driving layups helped erase a nine-point deficit.
But like a great teammate, Douglass, who tallied a game-high 14 points, was quick to deflect the praise.
“We had to have a team effort to win this game,” said Douglass, the daughter of ex-LFHS and University of Wisconsin guard Billy Douglass. “We just needed to hit some baskets to get back in the game.”
She’s right, of course.
Because a lot also could be said about Delaney Williams.
And Tori Salanty.
And Audrey Kaus.
Williams (3 points, 4 assists, 7 rebounds) truly was the defensive stalwart of the game. Her bulldog defense against Warren junior Jordyn Hughes was key. Hughes, who has scored more than a 1,000 points in her career with the Blue Devils, was held to seven points. She went scoreless in the crucial fourth quarter.
“Delaney did a phenomenal job on her,” said LF head coach Kyle Wilhelm. “And she got a lot of help from her teammates.”
Holding down Hughes, who is a dangerous shooter from anywhere on the court, is not an easy task.
“[Hughes] is one of the best players around,” said Williams. “Coach trusted me to guard her. I didn’t want to let the team down.”
Williams and LF fans had to hold their collective breaths on the final play of the game, when Hughes threw up a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer. The on-line shot hit the front of the rim and bounced off.
“I was scared out of my mind watching it,” said Williams.
The senior guard felt the exact opposite, when Salanty fired up a three-ball with 4:29 left in regulation.
Seconds after receiving a long skip pass from Williams, Salanty calmly buried a three-pointer from the left wing to put the Scouts ahead 27-25. It was the team’s first lead since early in the first quarter.
“Jordyn [Hughes] was guarding me at the time, and she jumped out and went for the steal. She left me wide open,” said Salanty.
“I didn’t think,” she added. “I just shot.”
Salanty could be described as one of the hidden gems on this LF team. The 5-foot-6 senior guard isn’t a starter and doesn’t get a lot of fanfare.
But the girl can sure shoot. She’s an ace from beyond the arc. She now has made 92 career three-pointers.
“She comes through in the clutch a lot,” said Williams.
The crowd — especially the fans behind the LF bench — roared as the shot fell in.
“Hearing that,” Salanty said, “was amazing.”
Salanty, who ended up with four points and six rebounds, also loved the fact that she remained on the court for the entire eight minutes of the fourth quarter.
Wilhelm wasn’t about to make any personnel changes down the stretch.
“After making that run, I’m thinking, ‘It’s going well. I’m just going to stay out of the way. I’m not going to touch this,’ ” said the LF coach.
Kaus proved to be LF’s unsung hero. She battled and hustled her way to six points, three rebounds and four steals.
She also went 2-for-4 from the foul line in the final 48 seconds of the game.
Lake Forest Game Balls: Halle Douglass, Delaney Williams, Tori Salanty
Warren Game Balls: Kaylen Dickson
LF Stat Leaders: Douglass (14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals), Audrey Kaus (6 points, 3 rebounds, 4 steals), Salanty (4 points, 6 rebounds), Williams (3 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists), Maeve Summerville (11 rebounds, 2 blocks), Olivia Douglass (6 rebounds)
Warren Stat Leaders: Dickson (12 points), Jordyn Hughes (7 points)
Player of the Game: Dickson
Unsung Hero: Kaus
Notable: Lake Forest will face Hersey in the Class 4A Libertyville Sectional on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. The Huskies topped Lake Zurich 44-20 in the Wauconda Regional Final on Feb. 17. The other semifinal will pit Libertyville against Fremd at 7:30 p.m. … Lake Forest went 2-2 against Warren this winter. … The Blue Devils finished the season 25-5.