A day before the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens confirmed plans to meet for Super Bowl XLVII, the Fenwick boys basketball team made sure to squash Immaculate Conception's plans to party during its version of "the biggest game of the year."
The Friars edged the host Knights 52-47 on Saturday in a hyped-up nonconference matchup.
"Immaculate Conception kind of viewed the game as [its] Super Bowl, and it was a heckuva game," Fenwick coach John Quinn said. "It was Coaches vs. Cancer night and the whole town of Elmhurst showed up for the game.
"Immaculate Conception is a smaller school and doesn't play the level of competition we face, but [IC] is a good, scrappy basketball team."
Fenwick (10-6) showed plenty of mettle as well, particularly after responding to 10-4 and 27-23 deficits. The Friars finally made a third-quarter push and built a 12-point lead; however, the Knights' star Demetrius Carr (20 points) canned a trio of three-pointers to draw his team within three. Fenwick guard Luke Lattner (22 points) made 13 of 14 free throws, including an 8-for-8 run in the fourth quarter, to hold off the Knights. Scott Lindsey added 16 points and freshman Michael Smith chipped in a pair of timely treys, while Keshaun Smith provided his customary ball-hawking defense.
"I was really proud of our team especially in the second half," Quinn said. "Our defense held them to four points in the third quarter. Luke is an excellent free throw shooter and knocked them down all game."
The Friars picked up an even more impressive victory on Friday, besting St. Joseph 53-46. Fenwick jumped out to a 12-0 lead before the Chargers recovered to force a 24-24 tie at halftime.
Locked in a tight battle in the second half, Lattner nailed a key three-pointer to finish off a 7-0 spurt that gave Fenwick a 38-32 advantage.
In the fourth quarter, Lattner scored eight points and reserve Josh Carlisle added seven as the Friars made 6 of 7 shots from the field and sank 9 of 12 free throws.
Lattner led the Friars with 16 points, followed by Lindsey's 14 points. Carlisle finished with nine points and Tom Planek played well in the paint, notching eight points and eight rebounds.
"Luke and Josh played like the seniors they are down the stretch," Quinn said. "It's a nice win for us. I think this was the first time we have beaten St. Joseph in our gym since the 1970s."
At halftime, legendary St. Joseph coach Gene Pingnatore was honored for his 900-plus career victories by Gov. Pat Quinn, along with fellow politicians/Fenwick alums like James Durkin and Dan Cronin.
"We've had some great games with St. Joe's through the years," Quinn said. "Obviously, [Gene Pingnatore] Ping has done a great job with the St. Joseph basketball program for a sustained period of time."
The Friars now turn their attention to Friday's showdown with visiting Loyola. Both teams are 3-0 in the Catholic League North. Tip-off is 7 p.m.