Tourneys and shootouts, no match thus far for Fenwick

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By CHRIS PUMMER

It was another week and another pair of tests for the Fenwick girls' basketball team. And thanks to some tough lessons learned a few weeks ago, the Friars passed both exams with flying colors.

The Friars made short work of then-unbeaten Riverside-Brookfield in a 77-37 win to open the Sweet 16 tournament on Thursday, before crushing Eau Claire North 61-31 Saturday at the East Chicago Shootout.

Still taking to heart what happened against St. Viator two weeks ago, when the Friars (12-0) almost lost a 17-point lead, Fenwick went on one 21-2 first-half run and put up 26 points in the second quarter against RB (10-1) on its way to a 48-18 halftime lead. The Friars would also extend their lead in each of the next two quarters.

"Our concern was that we don't want teams to hang around," Fenwick coach Dave Power said. "It's a mistake we made against St. Viator a few weeks ago. If you put the team away early, you don't have to worry about it."

Devereaux Peters finished with game-highs in points (21) and rebounds (14) while adding four blocked shots and five steals. Brittanny Johnson had 18 points and five assists while Allison Jackson recorded a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds).

As much as the runs against RB were keyed by offensive contributions, they were also a product of tough defense against the Bulldogs' big weapons.

Jackson and Erin Power limited the Bulldogs' Meghan Hutchens while Andrea DiCanio and Holly Harvey shut down Maggie McCloskey.

"Last year we played them and Hutchens had 20 points at halftime, and we know McCloskey is a very solid 3-point shooter," Power said. "Our goal was to see if we could shut them down or slow them down."

Saturday, the Friars played an Eau Claire team that had lost only two games the previous two years ?#34;both to the same opponent. The results were similar to Thursday's game, this time with the Friars building a 32-12 halftime lead on their way to another win.

Johnson finished with a team-high 15 points while Peters (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Jackson (10 points, 10 rebounds) each recorded another double-double. Johnson and Peters are both averaging better than 14 points per game through 12 games, with Peters also grabbing just over 10 boards per game.

Also against Eau Claire, Samantha Woods added eight points and six blocks and Power had eight points, six steals and five assists. Coach Power also praised the strong minutes the team received from Megan Musselman, Meghan Mulhearn and Colleen Kelly.

"The team's playing well and we're playing a lot of kids," Power said. "They're also playing unselfish, distributing the ball well. It's fun to watch and I hope we can keep it up."

The Friars also had the benefit of seeing Maggie Kloak take the court and score her first basket of the season against Eau Claire. A starting post player last season, Kloak had missed 11 months with an ACL injury. Power hopes her return gives the team additional depth.

After a game against St. Ignatius on Tuesday, the Friars will gear-up for a holiday tournament at Dundee-Crown in Carpentersville, beginning Dec. 27.

There, Fenwick is likely to see more top teams, including Bartlett, Buffalo Grove and Evanston.

"Our girls are starting to come together," Power said. "Our team chemistry is good this year. So far it's been a lot of fun. A lot of people sometimes don't understand that every team we play will give us their best game. So far our kids have met the challenge. I hope we continue to do that because we have some really good tests ahead of us. We'll see what we need to work on for the second half of the season."

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