Tori Salanty clapped her hands furiously as she ran down a basketball court on Monday night.
But it was hard to hear the Lake Forest High School senior’s racket.
Fans of the Scouts were making too much noise of their own in the third quarter of a Class 4A Libertyville Sectional semifinal against Hersey on Feb. 20.
A three-pointer from the hands of Salanty had prompted the applause. It occurred at 1:30 of the frame and cut the Huskies’ lead to 35-23. Hersey had raced to a 17-4 lead after one quarter and enjoyed a 33-13 advantage at the half. Fifth-seeded LFHS would score three more points — on a trey from junior forward Maeve Summerville — and limit top-seeded Hersey to a scant two points in the quarter.
LFHS outscored Hersey 13-2 in the quarter.
Ballgame not over.
Alas, Lake Forest’s memorable season ended at 23-10 with a 52-34 loss.
“Tori, these last two games … the ball found her,” Scouts coach Kyle Wilhelm said, also alluding to his club’s 31-28 defeat of host Warren in a regional championship game on Feb. 17, when Salanty, a 5-foot-6 reserve guard, nailed a clutch three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter. “Tonight we did a good job [especially in the third quarter] of kicking the ball out to Tori, who hit some huge shots for us and made Hersey nervous.”
The Scouts got as close as 39-31 with 5:27 left in the fourth quarter, but they tallied only three free throws — all by sophomore forward Grace Tirzmalis — the rest of the way.
Salanty finished with a team-high 12 points (on a 4-for-4 night from three-point land).
“Lake Forest made a nice run at us,” Huskies coach Mary Fendley said after her squad improved to 27-3. “Their players kept us out of our transition more than most teams have.
“Transition offense is a big part of our offense.”
The third quarter was an odd one before it became a thrilling one for LFHS. Neither team scored in the frame’s first 4:13. Salanty halted the lengthy dry spell with a three ball at 3:47. Tirzmalis (10 points) then hit back-to-back buckets in a 31-second stretch.
Hersey finally scored, on a put-back, 90 seconds before the end of the quarter.
“Two things happened in the quarter,” Wilhelm said. “We did a better job of moving the basketball, and we limited them to one shot [per possession].”
Thirteen things — specifically Hersey’s 12 made free throws and Hersey’s collective defense in the fourth quarter — essentially eliminated Lake Forest from the state tournament.
Summerville finished with five points and team highs of eight rebounds and three blocks. Scouts senior point guard Delaney Williams, the team’s 5-foot-5 engine, contributed two points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“We go as Delany goes,” Wilhelm said. “If she didn’t score a point in a game, that didn’t matter to her. All she cared about was doing what she could to help us win. She wanted the team to do well.
“She was,” the coach added, “a rock for us.”
Hersey — led by senior guard Kelly Weyhrich’s 19 points (16 in the first half) — faces Mid-Suburban League sister Fremd for a sectional title on Feb. 23. Fremd downed Libertyville 58-40 in the second Libertyville Sectional semifinal and helped the MSL go 3-for-3 on Feb. 20; Rolling Meadows edged Wheaton North 43-40 in overtime in a Glenbard West sectional semifinal.