The Fenwick boys basketball team honored its seniors for Senior Night in the last game of the regular season on Friday in Oak Park, but the tribute wasn’t capped off with a victory. The Friars lost 67-64 to Brother Rice in similar fashion to their last three losses.
“Different script, same ending,” Fenwick head coach John Quinn mused after his team missed opportunities in the fourth quarter to seal the win and struggled to get a much-needed defensive stop. “It’s really been our story all year with close games.”
Trailing by one with 11.6 seconds left on the clock, the Friars (14-11) turned the ball over on an inbound pass. But instead of mindfully trying to run out the clock, Alex Majewski upped Brother Rice’s lead by three with a quick layup. With still a few seconds left and a chance to tie the game, Dylan Barnett’s three-point attempt clanked off the front of the rim.
“The effort was outstanding, but closing the door in the final quarter is just something that hasn’t been easy to do for this team this season,” said Quinn. “After the upset of De La Salle [in January] we have struggled to close out games.”
Riding a three-game win-streak going into the match-up, the Friars missed their first six shots of the contest and trailed 12-2 in the first quarter. Though they chipped away at the deficit, Fenwick was outscored 23-14 in the second. Most of Brother Rice’s points came by way of long range. The team hit four three-pointers in the stanza – all by Sean Fitzpatrick – and finished with nine in the game. Fenwick went into the half down 37-26.
Barnett, a senior guard who finished with a season-high 22 points for the Friars, scored seven in the third period and seven in the fourth to lead his team. Fenwick trailed by three going into the fourth. In the closing minutes, Fenwick’s Peter Haefner (11 points) converted a four-point play and Barnett made two free throws to cut the deficit to 63-62.
Tyler Sewall and Luke Lattner both finished with eight points apiece for the Friars, who closed out the Chicago Catholic League with a record of 6-6.
On Feb. 22, in nonconference action, Fenwick dismantled Northside Prep 53-22 in Oak Park. Sam Ainsworth led the onslaught with 14 points, while Haefner added nine for the Friars. Fenwick jumped out to an early 17-3 lead and held the Mustangs to just five points in the second half.
Fenwick kicked off the Class 4A Villa Park Regional on Monday night with a 68-40 win over Willowbrook, the No. 23 seed in the Elmhurst Sectional. Tim Gancer led the Friars with 17 points. Fenwick takes on Morton tonight (Wednesday, March 2, 8:10 p.m.) at Willowbrook High School. A win would likely pit the Friars against Farragut in the regional championship on Friday (7:30 p.m.).