Kate Moore and her Fenwick High School girls basketball teammates had not been born when Dave Power began his coaching career.
But they were there on Saturday when Power recorded his 900th career win.
Moore, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, tied her career high with 23 points, McKenzie Blaze and Kelly Carpenter added 12 and 10 points, respectively, and Kiki Sheard had six points and seven assists as the Friars knocked off DePaul Prep 61-46 in GCAC Red action in Chicago.
Power is just the second girls basketball coach in Illinois history to reach the 900-win plateau, joining Marshall’s Dorothy Gaters, who has 1,044 wins. St. Joseph boys coach Gene Pingatore, who has 978 wins, is the only boys basketball coach with more than 900.
“I was happy that I could be a part of it,” Moore said. “He was stuck in the high 890s for a long time and I’m glad that we were able to get his 900th this year.”
Ironically, Power reached the milestone during what to date has been Fenwick’s least successful season. The win over DePaul gave the Friars (6-15) their first winning streak of the campaign.
“For a while it looked like it might take another 39 years,” Power cracked. “No, it was very nice.
“I was proud of the girls. They played with a lot of heart. At times they were trying too hard because they wanted it so bad.”
The Friars jumped out to a big early lead and then absorbed several DePaul rallies, one of which cut the cushion to 38-35 at the end of the third quarter, before closing it out. In that way, the players reflected their coach’s will to win.
“I think (Power’s greatest asset) is his intensity,” Moore said. “He’s always on us and sometimes some of the girls get down on that, but we understand that when he yells at us, he just wants us to be the best we can be and he’s good at getting that out of us.”
Power, whose career record stands at 900-278, began his head coaching career at Proviso West in 1977. He moved to now-defunct Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1982 and won his first state championship in 1987.
When Fenwick went co-ed in the early 1990s, Power was hired to start the girls basketball program and has led it ever since. The Friars won state titles in 2001 and 2007. They finished second in 2003 and third in 2000, 2003 and 2010.
The 2007 team featured two players, 2007 Ms. Basketball Devereaux Peters and 2010 Ms. Basketball Tricia Liston, who helped the Minnesota Lynx win the 2015 WNBA championship, as well as Power’s daughter, Erin.
Power’s current players feel they are benefitting from all that history.
“Obviously, I think he was a great coach back when he was starting out, but now that he’s been coaching 40 years, his experience helps,” Moore said. “He always knows which defense to use and what to do in every game situation.”
But Power has never had a team as inexperienced, or as injury-plagued, as this year’s squad. Sheard and Bailey Forde, both of whom have dealt with injuries, are the only seniors and most of the impact players are freshmen or sophomores.
“I didn’t know how much talent we had because they’re so young and have had to step up and play an unbelievable schedule,” Power said. “We’ve played two of the top Indiana teams, plus Montini and Trinity and Antioch.
“The schedule is so demanding and this is why I’m so proud of them, is even though they’ve taken some lumps, they keep on trucking.”
Indeed, the Friars have shown remarkable resilience and enthusiasm despite the poor win-loss record.
“You may not think it would be a fun year for us based on our record, but we all love each other,” Moore said. “There’s not a lot of drama. We’re having fun.”
That was the case on Saturday, when the Friars won despite being without Forde (back injury) and junior guard Mackenzie Berschel, who was sick.
“Today we had three freshmen on the court at the same time,” Power noted. “They’re playing in the trenches against tough teams.
“I really like their effort. They were genuinely joyous and happy for (the milestone) and I’m very proud of them.
“They’re the ones that have to go out and win, not me. I’m sitting on the bench.”
Power is grateful to all the great players and excellent assistant coaches who have served under him and his enthusiasm has not diminished.
“It’s important to have a coach who will be there for us,” Moore said.”He’s always there to talk to. He’s always available to work with us one-on-one.”
Power has no plans to retire any time soon. He doesn’t think he can catch Gaters, who is still active, but he intends to try for 1,000 wins.
Moore is determined to help him get there.
“His motivation is still good,” Moore said. “I think the fact that we’re young and a lot of us who played in the 900th win are going to be around for a while is going to help us down the road.”