Upon clobbering St. Francis de Sales 63-26 in its home and Catholic League (North)-opener on Friday night, the Fenwick basketball team was awarded a little time off. The rest served to benefit the Friars who were to embark on playing three games in five days against some of the state's top opponents. The day of respite was spent supporting a former basketball star at Fenwick, Vince Humphrey. The Friars cheered on Humphrey and his Valparaiso team at the United Center as they took on Duke.
The Friars (4-0, 1-0) were able to take in what playing at the next level is all about. Humphrey came off the bench for Valpo to snag a basket, a rebound, pocket a steal, and dish out an assist against one of the nation's top college basketball teams. Valpo fell to the Blue Devils 93-61, but Fenwick head coach John Quinn said he hoped the experience would spark his team in the coming games.
"We didn't get off to a great start with de Sales, but we did everything right after that first quarter," he said. "The challenge now is the upcoming week. We will face some tough teams that won't allow us to come out slow."
The Friars missed eight of their first nine shots in the first period against de Sales, but the cold shooting didn't last long. Fenwick went up 29-12 at halftime and blew its Catholic League opponent away with a 25-10 run in the third.
Kelvin Johnson led all scorers with 16 points, including 10 in the third period. Blake Neilsen tallied 10 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks in just three quarters of play. Michael Alexander chipped in 11 points for the Friars.
One of Fenwick's top scorers, Peter Flowers, was relatively quiet on the night, scoring just four points, and shooting just 2-of-11 from the field in two and half periods of action. Flowers has been battling a cold and respiratory infection for the last week.
Tuesday night (after deadline) the Friars took on 2004 Class A State champion Leo. Having graduated four starters last year, the Lions are without the bulk of their State team.
On Friday, Fenwick squares off against Bob Frasor and Brother Rice. Frasor, who led Rice to a perfect 14-0 league record last year, is averaging 20 points per game. The game is at Fenwick with a tip-off time of 7:30 p.m.
Fenwick won't have much time to celebrate a win or sulk over a loss. On Saturday, the Friars take on Morton, a team that always seems to give them trouble. The Mustangs (3-2) gave top-ranked Proviso East a run on Friday, pulling to within four points in the third quarter before falling 84-62.
"We still need to work out a few quirks, but that's always something you deal with early in the season," said Quinn. "We're working our way through it."
Quinn added that better free-throw shooting is a necessity for his team, especially with the Proviso East Holiday tournament coming up. The Friars made 4 of 8 free-throw shots against de Sales.
"Shooting well from the line will ultimately win you a ballgame," said Quinn.