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Lake Forest, 12/06/12 Lake Forest Academy's Lauren Clamage drives to the basket during their game against Woodlands Academy at Lake Forest December 6, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Lake Forest Academy is a truly global prep school, and a landing spot for students from all over the world.
The school’s girls basketball team — which features players from Africa and Asia — represents that diversity. Except for 5-foot-9 senior guard Lauren Clamage, that is. Guess where she’s from.
“Lake Forest,” Clamage said.
That’s not very global. In fact, it’s just plain local.
When Clamage was a middle schooler attending Deerpath, her older brother Eric was a student at Lake Forest Academy. That’s when Lauren Clamage was sold on the idea of becoming a Caxy.
“He would always come in and was so happy,” she said. “He always wanted to be at school and with his friends.”
So instead of following the conventional route to the public high school, Clamage enrolled at the prep school. Taking classes with students from different continents, Clamage’s global education extended from the classroom to the hardwood.
“That’s something she experiences (at school) every day,” LFA coach Chris Tennyson said. “So when she comes here, it’s the norm.”
A quick, darting guard, Clamage is the Caxys’ unquestioned floor leader. A member of the varsity team since her freshman year, she can just as easily shoot a long-range bomb as she can drive and finish at the rim.
In a 61-20 win over Woodlands Academy Dec. 6, Clamage showed off her entire repertoire. During a 9-0 LFA run to end the first half, she drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key. On the next possession, she found sophomore Jasmine Sawyer in transition for an easy layup. Clamage finished the run by pulling up for a mid-range jumper.
Sitting for most of the second half, Clamage huddled with senior Grace Coburn on the bench. When senior backup Allie Cedergren scored, Clamage was the first to cheer and give her a high-five when she returned to the bench.
“She’s a great communicator and leader,” Coburn said. “She always knows to keep everyone hyped up and ready for the game.”
Clamage has worked tirelessly on her shot — she finished with 17 points against Woodlands, including three 3-pointers — but she attributes much of her basketball development to her foreign-born teammates.
“If I went to the (public) high school, it would be the same defense, same offense,” Clamage said. “I wanted to switch it up a little.”
As a freshman, Clamage played with Victoria Smith, a native Australian who is now a junior at St. Thomas in Florida. On loose balls, Smith liked to gain leverage by pushing opponents in the back.
“She always [got called for] over-the-back,” Clamage said. “I learned to be aggressive and box out in front of the person, not the back.”
Now Clamage plays with junior center Dija Diouf, a native African from Senegal. Diouf likes to swing her arms and elbows, and Clamage said she has helped Diouf “tone down her aggressiveness.” Diouf has taught Clamage much more.
“Just learning about their culture and accepting other views,” Clamage said.