He’s best known as the longtime boys basketball coach at Fenwick and brother of Governor Pat Quinn, but John Quinn revealed a bit of his inner-Phil Jackson by offering almost Zen-like postgame quotes regarding the Friars’ 61-44 win over visiting St. Francis de Sales on Friday.
“We have really intelligent people on our team who tend to think about failure at times,” Quinn said. “Sometimes they rush shots and our kids get nervous, especially the ones without great experience. We tell them not to think too much, be patient, have fun and just play the game. It’s really about letting things flow on the basketball court.”
Trailing St. Francis de Sales 32-30 at halftime, the suddenly free-flowing Friars (5-1) employed more of a “be quick but don’t hurry” offensive approach and better defensive intensity to dominate the second half, outscoring the Pioneers 31-12.
The Friars’ terrific tandem of upperclassmen perimeter players Luke Lattner and Scott Lindsey triggered the second-half outburst. The versatile 6-foot-5 Lindsey set the tone, netting nine points in the third quarter and finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks overall.
“I thought I played pretty soft in the first half,” Lindsey said. “I wanted to play harder in the second half because a lot of the guys were getting on me and the coaches expected more of me. We came out with more intensity and got the W.”
Quinn wasn’t surprised at all by Lindsey’s stellar performance.
“Scott can plum well do whatever he wants to do on the floor,” Quinn said. “He’s extremely talented and can take over any game. The key [for him] is playing at a high level consistently play-to-play, quarter-to-quarter, game-to-game.”
Lattner also led Fenwick with 18 points and his customary senior leadership.
“Coach Quinn got on us at halftime and we stepped it up,” Lattner said. “We only allowed 12 second-half points. A lot of our juniors gained valuable experience last season. We know what to do now in late-game situations.”
Other starters like Thomas Planek (10 points, 12 rebounds) and Josh Carlisle (7 points) also played key roles in the victory, while promising freshman guard Michael Smith (6 points) continues to show glimpses of brilliance off the bench.
“Michal is a very talented kid who plays with supreme confidence,” Quinn said. “He’s only 14 or 15-years-old, so he’s another guy we tell to not think too much and just play.”
Jawaan Avant scored a game-high 20 points for St. Francis de Sales (1-6). He continually scored inside buckets either off offensive rebounds, clever post moves, or in transition, powering the Pioneers to their 32-30 halftime advantage. Rontez Allen Shabazz chipped in eight points.
Fenwick visits Brother Rice on Friday (Dec. 14, 7 p.m.).
The Friars are eager to welcome back junior forward Daniel Dwyer, who has been out with a slight toe fracture, sometime this week.
“Whether it’s a player being sick, hurt or in foul trouble, every team faces adversity,” Quinn said. “We have confidence everybody on our team can help us, but they have to be ready to play.”