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Fenwick boys basketball head coach John Quinn called it a "typical Catholic League gut check to the last whistle," while Gordon Tech's first-year coach Tom Kleinschmidt labeled it "an old school Catholic League game." By any gritty description, the Friars earned an important 42-35 overtime victory against the visiting Rams in Catholic League North action on Friday night.
Tied at 34-all after regulation, the Friars' precocious freshman point guard Michael Smith went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line and Dan Dwyer scored on a clutch inside basket to set the tone in overtime. Luke Lattner added a breakaway layup in the closing seconds to finish off Fenwick's inspired win.
"We played good defense and really hustled for the ball," Smith said. "We've been working on a lot of stuff in practice and we're progressing slowly but surely."
Six-foot-5 junior forward Scott Lindsey, who finished with a team-high 11 points, had a chance to win the game on the last shot of the fourth quarter but it rimmed out. Dwyer's tip-in attempt off Lindsey's shot also just missed, sending the contest into extra time.
"[My coaches] wanted me to go at seven [seconds] so we would have time for a tip-in or extra shot," Lindsey said. "I thought I had a good drive and got the ball up on the rim, but it just didn't go down. In the clutch [tonight] though, I thought we played good defense with great intensity, and we took good shots."
After a defensive-oriented first half in which Fenwick (8-6, 2-0) held a 21-16 advantage, the Friars made their move with a 7-4 spurt to build a 28-20 lead capped off by Joshua Carlisle's three-pointer midway through the third quarter.
Unexpectedly, Fenwick spiraled into a major scoring funk, posting only two points over the next seven minutes of play. The Rams roared back with a 14-2 run to seize a 34-30 lead with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter. Smith forced overtime by splitting a pair of free throws and then converting a huge layup plus one off his steal at the 2:16 mark of the fourth quarter. Other than Lindsey's 11 points, Smith was the only other Fenwick player (10 points) to reach double figures. Keshaun Smith, Thomas Planek, Dwyer, and Lattner also played well though, particularly at the defensive end of the floor and on the boards.
Sam Rarick pace Gordon Tech with 11 points and Raequan Williams chipped in eight points for the Rams (10-6), who struggled offensively, making 14-of-47 shots. The Friars went 13-for-29 from the field.
"I thought it was two teams really getting after it defensively," said Kleinschmidt, a former basketball star at Gordon Tech and DePaul. "Our kids battled and hung tough, but we had difficulty scoring. That's a testament to Fenwick's defense. Coach Quinn and his coaching staff do a great job."
Fenwick hosts St. Joseph on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.