Fenwick derails Caravan with punchy play

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The Fenwick derails Caravan with punchy play TheFenwick boys' basketball team, usually known for its high powered, high-octane offense, was forced to tough one out Friday night in a scrappy 49-45 win over Catholic League foe Mt. Carmel.

The Friars, who usually rely on the offensive production of Peter Flowers and Michael Alexander, had to manage without both due to Flowers ailing from the flu, and Alexander's early foul trouble. The Caravan did their best to stymie the Fenwick attack as well as play tough defense all night long, frustrating the Friars at the offensive end.

It was Senior Night for Fenwick in the team's final regular season game and head coach John Quinn went with an all-senior starting lineup.

Both Fenwick and Mt. Carmel started off slow to begin the game, scoring a combined 12 points in the first quarter. The lack of scoring continued into the second period and Fenwick eventually took a 14-11 lead into halftime.

Senior Kelvin Johnson sparked the Friars in the second half, scoring 18 of his game-high 24 points.

The Friars regained confidence in their offense despite having 6-foot-8-inch center Blake Nielsen on the bench from the six minute mark in the third quarter to the start of the fourth quarter.

Fenwick went very small from that point on playing three guards to compensate for its lack of size inside. However, Johnson carried the Friars on his back as he continued to score when his team needed it most, and the Friars took a 30-27 lead to close out the third quarter.

Johnson scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, while Nick Harvalis nailed a timely jump-shot and the Friars connected on three straight free throws to edge Mt. Carmel.

"Johnson really took the team on his shoulders tonight, he was the catalyst that kept our team in the game," said Quinn. "It was a defensive oriented game and Mt. Carmel hung in there, every time we made a run they would get right back in it. We didn't shoot that well especially from the free-throw line but fortunately we were able to prevail."

The Friars hosted either Gage Park or Kelly in the first round of the Oak Park (Fenwick) Regional on Tuesday (after deadline). A win would more than likely pit them against Curie in the title game on Friday (7:30 p.m.).

Despite health woes, Quinn said he was staying positive about the playoffs.

"We had hoped to win 20 to 21 games this season but I still believe we are one of the most dangerous teams in the sectional, as long as we can get everybody healthy and improve our free throw shooting," he said. "If we can get our free throw shooting to improve, and have a couple of guys step up, we'll be a very dangerous team. Someone will have to beat us."

Tue., Mar. 1

Game 2 at 7:30 p.m.: (4) Fenwick vs. (18) Gage Park

Wed., Mar. 2

Game 3 at 7:30 p.m.: (5) Curie vs. (13) Austin

Fri., Mar. 4

Game 4 at 7:30 p.m.: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

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