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By Brad Spencer
It seems Dave Power has a bit of coaching to do this season.
The legendary girls basketball coach, who has racked up 473 victories, including two state titles and seven state final appearances in 18 years at Fenwick, won't be able to sit back and watch Tricia Liston bucket 28 points per game this season. Liston, who led the Friars to third place at the Class 4A State Finals last season, is now at Duke.
"I went down to a bookstore in Oak Park and picked up one of those 'How to coach a high school girls basketball team' books," joked Power last week over the phone as he sat in a car in Philadelphia. Power was out east to watch his daughter, Erin, a starting senior for the University of Pennsylvania, play in the team's home opener. Erin was a member of Fenwick's 2006-'07 state championship team.
But a state title is far from Power's mind right now — although of course he won't rule it out. He's more focused on developing his new team minus a major standout player.
"We're going to get it done by committee," said Power. "That's how we'll make up for those 28 points per game. We don't have a true standout player, but we have a lot of firepower. Last season, opponents knew who to try to stop. This season we have multiple offensive weapons and they will be utilized."
From that third place squad, Power returns starters Kathleen Roche, Kyra Navarette (6-foot) and Sarah Williams, who are all seniors this season. Each player averaged around 6-7 points per game last season. Roche, who finished second in the state in the Class 4A State three-point contest, shot 88 percent from the free-throw line last season.
Others back from that team that won 32 games include Heather Casper (6-foot), Hannah Ballard (6-1), Marek Burchett, Kailey Boyd (5-11) and Meredith Boardman, a 6-foot junior who won't be available until after the holidays due to an ACL injury she suffered in July.
Power will be without the services of Alyssa Dengler, a sharp-shooting guard that transferred to Trinity in the offseason. But there doesn't seem to be a gap left by the junior's departure, not with a group of newcomers fresh from winning the conference title at the sophomore level.
Ashley Schafer, Maggie Riley, Kailey Boyd (5-10), Katie Johns, Kasia Wlodarkiewicz and Paige Corvino give Power plenty of options off the bench. Riley averaged 13 points per game for the sophomore team last season. Promising freshman Jade Owens has the potential to start, according to Power.
"Owens is one of the best freshman I've seen," said Power of the 5-4 guard.
The Friars, who will vie for their 17th-straight East Suburban Catholic Conference title, begin the season at home against rival OPRF on Thursday night (7 p.m.). The Friars crushed the Huskies 84-42 last season.