The Fenwick girls basketball team’s high-powered offense that averaged 86 points per game in the five-game Niles North Thanksgiving Tournament to open the season stalled last week against Loyola in Oak Park.
Minus starting senior center Meredith Boardman, who was benched for violating a school rule, the Friars managed just 11 points in the first half en route to a 53-32 loss, their first of the season.
Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first half, but Loyola was able to gain the upper hand by finding creases in Fenwick’s press.
“We knew we would see this,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Power of Loyola’s strategy to slow his Friars’ down. “They executed it just so well. I knew there would be a night like this. To have this happen early is real good for us. We have to be ready. They zoned us and that invited the threes but we just didn’t knock them down, so credit to them.”
The Friars (5-1) shot under 30 percent from three-point range and attempted only 52 shots total from the field, a stark contrast from their 90-plus attempts in each victory of the Niles North tourney.
Jade Owens and Maya Garland led the Friars with eight points apiece, while Loyola’s Kathleen Stralka finished with a game-high 21 points.
Fenwick’s Hannah Puckorious hit two long-range three-pointers on her birthday, but most of the Friars’ shots rattled in and out.
“Not to take anything away from Loyola, because they did an exceptional job in getting around our traps, but we shot really, really bad,” added Power. “With Boardman out we became a donut team, focusing on things around the perimeter and not much in the middle. The energy level was also low and I made the mistake of leaving in rotations too long. Our players became gassed.”
Boardman’s status for Fenwick’s Dec. 7 game at home against Carmel was still being decided, according to Power. The Yale-bound senior is averaging over 20 points per game. The Friars travel to Benet on Saturday for an afternoon game (2:30 p.m.).
Power was hoping a break away from competition would help his team forget Thursday’s poor shooting night. The Friars went out to South Bend, Ind., on Friday night to see former Fenwick players Devereaux Peters and Kathleen Roche play in the Notre Dame vs. Pennsylvania women’s basketball game. Peters stars for Notre Dame, while Roche is a freshman guard for Penn.