His game has come around.
And the timing couldn’t be better.
“I started the season a little slow,” said Lake Forest High School’s Reed Thomas, following his team’s hard-fought 59-52 victory over Mather in the opening round of the Class 4A Maine West Regional on Feb. 27. “I feel like I’m in a pretty good groove now.”
In the win over a pesky Mather team, Thomas put together a solid all-around game as the 15th seeded Scouts improved to 12-15 overall. The 6-foot-4 senior forward finished the outing with nine points, six rebounds and five assists on the offensive end.
Defensively, he helped his team by taking two charges.
“Reed has been one of our better players in the second half of the season,” said LF head coach Phil LaScala. “He’s turned it up a notch.”
Thomas and his teammates will need to be at the top of their games, when they go up against No. 3 seed Stevenson on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.
“I think we have a great chance of beating Stevenson, and then winning again on Friday [in a regional title game],” said a confident Thomas.
In Monday’s victory, Thomas was involved in a nice sequence of plays down the stretch. First, with 2:22 left in regulation, he made a nice feed to set up a basket for fellow senior Michael Bogdanowicz (8 points).
Then, on LF’s very next possession, Bogdanowicz returned the favor by assisting Thomas with an underneath pass.
“Just good teamwork,” said Thomas.
The first half proved to be a struggle for Lake Forest. Thanks to some hot outside shooting by Adnan Gnozden, the Rangers shot ahead by eight points, 19-11, with 4:58 left in the second period. The Scouts trailed 24-21 at the break.
But the game eventually pivoted LF’s way. Playing with a lot more energy, the Scouts went on a 9-0 run and ended up outscoring Mather 21-10 in third frame.
“We [actually] were pretty calm at halftime,” said LaScala.
Speeding up the offense was one key. Keeping track of Mather’s shooters and making better switches on the defensive end was the other key.
Veteran Justin McMahon also did a nice job of completing the task and wrapping up the win. With the Scouts in the double bonus, the senior guard sealed the win by hitting four free throws in the final 32 seconds of the game.
McMahon wound up as LF’s leading scorer with 10 points. His best play of the night came in the closing seconds of the third quarter, when he slivered through the Mather defense and banked in a layup. His 18-footer from the left corner with 3:24 left to play also helped LF’s cause.
The Scouts also received solid second halves from senior forward Brian Sticker and junior guard Jed Thomas. Stickler overcame a slow starter and ended up with nine points and eigtht rebounds, while Thomas added five points and six rebounds.
Mead Payne helped the LF cause with eight points.
Mather was paced by its solid trio of scorers: Gnozden (16 points), Latrell Delaney (11 points) and Dalopo Olayinka (10 points).