The Fenwick boys basketball team endured a frustrating loss at the hands of St. Rita on Friday night in Oak Park.
The Chicago Catholic League (North) game had much riding on it for the Friars (8-7, 5-2). A victory would have helped in the state seedings and provided the team with momentum heading into some big match-ups in the coming weeks. But a buzzer-beating jumper by St. Rita’s Anthony Hicks near the free-throw line wiped all that out as Fenwick let slip a 13-point lead at halftime en route to a disappointing 42-41 loss.
Last second losses aren’t new to the Friars, who have now lost three games in such a fashion – to Brother Rice, Evanston and now St. Rita – this season.
“It’s certainly frustrating to have a lead like that and see it go out the door,” said Fenwick head coach John Quinn. “We just haven’t been a consistent team come the third quarter and it was really our downfall in this game.”
Led by Tyler Sewall’s four three-pointers, the Friars outscored the Mustangs 18-7 in the second quarter. But things went bad for Fenwick in the second half as the team missed six layups, committed 10 turnovers and only made 2-of-7 free throws in the final quarter. The Friars finished 9-of-18 from the charity stripe in the game.
“Free-throw shooting has been our weakness for most of the season,” said Quinn. “They work and work on it in practice but it just hasn’t been transferring to game situations. The shooter seems to tense up and the fundamentals go out the window.”
Sewall led Fenwick with 16 points, while Mike Mullin added 10 to go along with his eight rebounds. Senior Dave Suwada was held to just three points, but hauled down eight rebounds and thwarted two shots. Jack Dittmer finished with seven rebounds and two steals.
“We need someone to step up when one of our main scorers is struggling,” said Quinn. “That, or better free-throw shooting, and we’re coming away with a win in this game instead of a loss.”
Despite the loss, the Friars remain atop the league with a record of 5-2. They’ll travel to Seton on Friday, followed by a slate of tough games the following week, including Hales Franciscan on Feb. 2 at home (7:30 p.m.).
“We need to find a way to correct certain things and do it fast,” added Quinn. “We’re running out of time.”