Balanced scoring and relentless rebounding powered the Fenwick High School girls basketball team to a 67-52 win over visiting St. Viator on Saturday afternoon.
Three players reached double figures in scoring as Fenwick shot 27-of-63 from the field, including 8-for-25 from beyond the three-point arc. When they did miss shots, the Friars pounded the boards (18 offensive rebounds). Fenwick outrebounded the Lions 30-9 overall and had 14 second chance points.
In Fenwick coach Dave Power’s estimation, rebounding well is fundamentally about awareness and activity.
“We call it ‘spectation nation,’ which means when your teammate shoots the ball and you just watch it. We did a very good job of avoiding that today,” Power said. “When you know your teammate is ready to put up a shot, you have to get in position to rebound early and often.
“Most of the teams we play have a height advantage on us. Rebounding is not about height. It’s about attitude and technique.”
Drenisha Wideman led the Friars with 16 points and Deja Cage turned in a terrific floor game performance with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Despite picking up her third foul midway through the second quarter, Kiki Sheard finished with four points, 11 rebounds (including eight offensive boards) and three steals. Kelly Canoy contributed six points and six rebounds, while Jess Moriarty and Mackenzie Berschel chipped in six points apiece for Fenwick.
“After the rough start we had this year, I think we’re playing much better basketball now,” Cage said. “I’m excited because I think we’re getting it together when it really counts most.”
The Friars’ reserves also played a significant role against the Lions, led by promising 5-11 freshman McKenzie Blaze (10 points, three rebounds).
“We had 20 points off the bench,” Power said. “We were missing that in our last game [a 54-46 loss against Lyons Township on Jan. 19]. I didn’t know how they would respond so I was very pleased with the effort.”
In a loss against Lyons Township at the McDonald’s Shootout hosted by Willowbrook High School, the Friars led 24-12 at the end of the first quarter. Led by Vicki Swift (20 points) and Erin Corrigan (13 points, 10 rebounds), the Lions rallied by outscoring Fenwick 17-6 in the fourth quarter. Moriarty and Cage paced the Friars with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Sheard recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Against St. Viator, the Friars held a 17-15 advantage after one quarter. Six players scored in the second quarter as Fenwick extended the lead to 32-23 at halftime.
Up 57-45 with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter, the Friars iced the victory over the next minute of play when Moriarty and Wideman made back-to-back three-pointers. With the Lions playing hard till the final buzzer, Blaze added a trey in the closing seconds to cap the Friars’ rousing win.
“That shot was kind of nice to end the game,” Blaze said. “We’re getting along really well and playing together. I chose to attend Fenwick because it’s such a great school with a great basketball program. I wanted to be a part of it.”
Saturday’s win was even more impressive considering the team played without key contributors like Elle Schaefer and the Mackowiak sisters, Jenny and Jessica. The Friars have won 8 of 10 games.
“Even though we were missing a few players, the girls really stepped up,” Power said. “Our goal is to see if we can pick somebody off before the state tournament. If we keep improving and playing team basketball, I think we can be a formidable opponent for anybody.”
Fenwick (12-13) hosts New Trier today at 6:30 p.m. The Friars will then honor their seniors before Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. tipoff against Nazareth.
“Our seniors have been a very resilient group,” Power said. “They have had some really great times and some rough times. Senior Night is always special.”