Fenwick girls hoops retires three jerseys

Lawless, Liston and Peters join Lattner and Maggette in gym rafters

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Melvin Tate

Contributing Reporter

Over the years, Fenwick High School has had several student-athletes leave their mark in competition. In particular, there are two that quickly come to mind.

The first is Johnny Lattner. He was an All-State running back for the Friars in the late 1940s. He continued his stellar play at Notre Dame, where in 1953 he won the Heisman Trophy, annually presented to the college player determined to be the best by national media. As a result of his accomplishments, Lattner's #34 jersey hangs in the rafters at Fenwick's Fieldhouse Gym. 

Next to Lattner's number is the number of Fenwick's other male honoree, basketball star Corey Maggette. Maggette led the Friars to their first appearance in the IHSA state basketball quarterfinals in 1998. He went on to have an outstanding college career at Duke, and enjoyed a long, productive stint in the NBA. Maggette's #50 and Lattner's #34 were the only numbers Fenwick had retired - that is, until Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.

The numbers of three girls' basketball players - Erin Lawless, Tricia Liston, and Devereaux Peters - were retired in a pregame ceremony before Fenwick's game versus Stevenson. Given that Fenwick did not have female students until 1992, this is truly an impressive accomplishment.

Lawless, who wore #34, was a 6-foot-3 forward for the Friars from 1999 until 2003. As a sophomore, she helped lead the Friars to the AA state title in 2001 - the school's first state basketball championship - and to a runner-up finish in 2003 (Fenwick lost the AA title game in overtime to Candace Parker-led Naperville Central). The Berwyn native scored over 2,000 points in her high school career, and still holds the school record for most points in a single game - 51 against St. Ignatius. Lawless earned first-team All-State honors in both her junior and senior seasons, as well as being named a McDonald's All-American player in 2003.

After graduation, she played at Purdue University and then enjoyed a solid professional career, first in the WNBA with the Indiana Fever and then an eight-year career in Europe. Today, Lawless lives in La Plata, Maryland with her husband and two-year-old daughter. She is in her second season as the head coach for the local girls' high school basketball team. 

A River Forest native, Liston, wore #32, was a 6-0 forward at Fenwick from 2006 until 2010. As a freshman, she was a contributor on the Friars' second AA title team in 2007. Her senior season may be one of the most dominant in state basketball history - regardless of gender. 

Liston averaged 28.8 points per game in 2009-10. She scored 30 or more points in 12 games, including a career-high 43-point effort against St. Joseph (Missouri). She was voted Ms. Basketball by the Chicago Tribune, and received Player of the Year honors from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Champaign News-Gazette. In her final high school game, Liston scored 40 points as the Friars defeated Whitney Young to finish third in Class 4A with a 32-4 record. Fenwick went 128-16 during Liston's career.

Liston continued her success at Duke University, where she became a two-time captain and is eighth on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,664 points. Her 253 three-point shots made are a school record as she shot an impressive 45.9 percent from beyond the arc. Her teams went 120-20 and reached the NCAA Elite Eight three times. Liston, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic Team member, also won a Gold Medal with the United States women's basketball team in the 2013 World University Games.

After graduation in 2014, she played with the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA, and also with teams in Italy, South Korea, and Spain. Unfortunately, a lingering back issue caused Liston to retire from basketball in 2016. However, she is still heavily involved in sports, as she now works for Drum Associates' Chicago office. It is a firm that helps athletes find jobs once their playing careers are over.

Peters,  an Oak Parker who wore #14, was a 6-2 forward at Fenwick from 2003 until 2007. During her four-year career as a Friar, her teams went 135-11, winning the AA title her senior year with a 36-2 record. She was a McDonald's All-American and the 2007 Sun-Times Player of the Year. With a 77-inch wingspan, Peters could dominate games from the post, both offensively and defensively. 

Peters went on to the University of Notre Dame, where she overcame two ACL injuries to help lead the Fighting Irish to the NCAA title game in 2012. That season she was named the Big East Conference's Defensive Player of the Year.

In 2011, she was part of the United States women's basketball team that went undefeated in the World University Games en route to the Gold Medal. Peters was the third overall pick in the 2012 WNBA draft by Minnesota, and she helped lead the Lynx to WNBA championships in 2013 and 2015. She played for the Indiana Fever in 2016, and has played for numerous teams in Europe. She recently has recovered from hip surgery and is hoping to return to the WNBA this year.

Whether it is high school, college, or the pros, having your jersey number retired by your team is the highest honor an athlete can have. That means you left a legacy and a lasting impact. Certainly, Lawless, Liston and Peters have done so, and are truly deserving of seeing their numbers join Lattner and Maggette in the Fenwick rafters.

The honorees were thankful and appreciated returning to the school for their special moment.

"I enjoyed my time at Fenwick so much," said Liston, who had a large family contingent attend. "It's a huge accomplishment. Just being back in this gym brings back so many great memories. It's fun to be here today."

Lawless added, "It's the best feeling in the world. It's a great thing for Fenwick and a great thing for the community to understand the legacy (Fenwick) coach (Dave) Power has created."

Peters, currently playing in Europe, could not attend the ceremony. Her father, Delacy, accepted the honor on her behalf and said she has warm memories of her Friar playing days.

"She's excited and wishes she could be here," he said. "She has nothing but love for Fenwick and the Fenwick community. This is where it all started for her."

The ceremony, which included video clips from all three players, was emotional for both Dave Power and his daughter Erin, a current assistant coach. 

"Oh my gosh, so many great memories," said Dave Power of Lawless, Liston and Peters. "I can't even begin...I got emotional watching the video presentation. It was awesome."

"I played with Devereaux and Tricia, and I was a gym rat when Erin played," added Erin Power. "It was great to see them. As you get older, you don't see people as often as you did in high school. It's fun to see them all grown up, and I was excited to be here today, not only as an assistant coach, but as a former teammate."

Lawless, Liston and Peters also were thankful and appreciative of what Dave Power has meant for them in their lives.

"Oh God, there are so many things I learned from coach Power,"  Liston said. "He always taught me to be confident in myself. As a freshman, I played with four seniors in the starting lineup. He taught me so much both on and off the court, and he was always there supporting me during my college and professional careers."

"I owe everything in my life to coach Power," Lawless said. "He knew what I was capable of, and he pushed me to my limits. He's the reason I became a professional basketball player, and he's the reason I'm now a high school coach."

"Devereaux always talks about coach Power," Delacy Peters said. "Here, she started on the road to be the woman she has become. Last summer, she conducted her first camp here. For me, being here brings back good memories as I would always sit behind the Fenwick bench, rooting on Dev and the Friars."

Like Peters, Lawless hasn't ruled out making a comeback as a player.

"I told my agent that if there's an opportunity to let me know,"  she said with a smile. "If it's there, I may go back. I'm always staying in shape."

Fenwick stops Stevenson

Once the jersey retirement ceremony concluded, the current Friars (12-10) faced Stevenson in a non-conference matchup. Fenwick's defense held the Patriots to three made baskets in the first half as part of a strong defensive effort in a 47-39 victory. 

"The girls really brought their 'A' game defensively today," said Dave Power. "I think the ceremony motivated them. It was a great team effort. Kate Moore had some big baskets and McKenzie Blaze had double digits in rebounds. We led wire-to-wire against a good Stevenson team, and it was a nice win for us."

"One of the main points that was stressed before the game was having a lot of energy and sustaining it,"said Moore, who led the Friars with 21 points. "We came out with a lot of energy and that's what won the game for us."

Blaze added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Fenwick. Klaire Steffens scored a game-high 26 points for Stevenson (11-8), including 19 in the second half. 

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R P Walsh from Elmhurst  

Posted: January 17th, 2018 5:20 PM

Lattner was 34. Maggette was 50.

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