It’s likely that by the time you’ve sat down to read this article the Fenwick girls basketball team has already made strides at winning its second straight Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown. The Friars are quick at winning.

Fenwick opened the tournament against Streamwood on Monday (due to holiday this was after deadline). The likely victory pitted the Friars against either Dundee-Crown or Stevenson on Tuesday. The Friars (12-0, 3-0) were expected to take on either two-time tournament champ Naperville Central or Regina tonight at 8 p.m.

The championship game is scheduled for tomorrow night (Thursday) at 8 p.m. and barring an unlikely upset, the Friars are expected to be vying for their fifth tournament championship in seven years.

“This is one of the most prestigious girls basketball tournaments in the state, if not the country. And we love being a part of it every year,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Power. “It’s a great barometer, a test to see where you are at midseason. The games come at such a fast pace. It’s exciting.”

For several years now the Charger Classic has been an early indication of what teams will presumably wind up in the Class AA Final Four. It’s also where former Naperville Central star Candace Parker became the first female high school athlete to slam dunk in a game (2003).

“There’s no question the team gets enthusiastic about playing in this tournament,” added Power. “It’s the premiere place to be playing, so you want to do well.”

Teams the Friars could face in the championship include Resurrection, New Trier, or Bartlett, who Fenwick defeated 47-35 on Dec. 3. The Hawks (10-3), who are coming off a stunning 57-49 victory over seventh-ranked Marist on Dec. 20, may want their revenge?#34;from this year’s regular season loss and last year’s 57-55 semifinal loss to Fenwick?#34;but that shouldn’t threaten the Friars, whose defense has eclipsed their high-octane scoring production this season. Fenwick’s defense forced 22 turnovers out of Bartlett, and notched 25 steals in a blowout of St. Ignatius earlier this month. If the defense looks a bit sluggish, the Friars can always fall back on their potent offense. Six-foot-2 junior Devereaux Peters is currently leading the team with an average of 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. But Peters isn’t all that Fenwick has to offer. The team has plenty of height, speed and talent with Alison Jackson (5-11), Maggie Kloak (6-1), Erin Power (5-11), Holly Harvey and Andrea DiCanio, all of whom helped the program earn a trip downstate last season.

“Dundee-Crown is one of those places you can never let your guard down at,” said Power. “You do that and it’s over for you.”

Stranger things have happened. Before upsetting Marist, Bartlett fell 66-51 to Neuqua Valley, an unranked team. In a 51-48 victory over eighth-ranked Benet on Dec. 17, the Friars struggled against a menacing zone defense.

After the tournament, Fenwick doesn’t start back up again until it hosts Sandburg on Jan. 4 (7 p.m.).

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...