By Brad Spencer
The fourth quarter woes that have plagued the Fenwick boys basketball team for much of the season carried over into the playoffs and led to the Friars' 59-48 downfall against Morton in the Class 4A Villa Park Regional semifinal at Willowbrook High School last week.
Leading 36-34 in the final period, the Friars got swept up in Morton's full-court press and turned the ball over six times. The Mustangs (18-9) had scored just 30 points going into the fourth but exploded for 29 in the final period. Morton went on a 13-0 run at one point and led by 11 with four and half minutes left to close out the game.
Morton's Jeff Jarosz scored a game-high 24 points, 14 of which came in the final period.
Tyler Sewall scored a season-high 20 points and Sam Ainsworth hauled down a career-high 18 rebounds for the Friars, who were without the services of main reserve Pat Hart. The sophomore suffered a severe ankle sprain in Fenwick's 68-40 win over Willowbrook in the regional semifinal. Six-foot-6 center John Malone was hampered by a knee injury for much of the game against Morton. The senior twisted his knee with 4:40 left in the first and played sparingly the rest of the way.
Dylan Barnett, who was selected First Team All-Catholic League, ended his high school basketball career with 15 points against Morton, eight coming in the second quarter.
Tim Gancer led the Friars in the win over Willowbrook with 17 points.
Fenwick closes out the season with a 14-12 overall record, mirroring its record of last season.
"This was a really good team, but we just struggled to close out games," said Fenwick head coach John Quinn. "We're proud of the effort and the commitment, but we have to get back and identify some things next season. We need to be more consistent with our scoring."
Expected back next season includes Hart, Ainsworth and Luke Lattner, a 6-1 sophomore who had a hand in keeping Jarosz held to 10 points in the first three quarters of the semifinal.
"Luke has a chance to really develop into a great player next season," said Quinn. "The young guys on this team really have a lot of potential."
Quinn added he also expects to see an influx of talent coming up the ranks. The Fenwick sophomore team finished 18-7 this season, while the freshman squad went 25-1.
"It could be a very, very young team next year," he said.