We had seven points and three blocks in the first period, then 11 points in the second period. Peter Flowers seemed to be everywhere in the first half of Fenwick’s 87-57 demolishing of Austin to win the Oak Park Regional championship on Friday night.
In the waning seconds before the intermission, Flowers, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, tipped in a missed layup by teammate Newman Delany, then on Austin’s next possession took a charge from one of the Tigers’ meatier players, and then capped his team’s early lead with a three-pointer.
By then it was pretty much lights out for Austin, who upset Oak Park and River Forest 55-53 in the semifinals on March 1.
Fenwick took on powerhouse St. Joseph (26-1), a team ranked No. 1 in last week’s Associated Press poll, Tuesday night (after deadline) in the first round of the Farragut Sectional.
The Friars (17-8) held a healthy 42-25 lead over Austin (13-14) at the break, and didn’t let up in the second half. While Flowers, who finished with 22 points, took a rest, Tim Shaw went to work. Shaw rattled off 13 points in the third quarter. He finished with 15 for the night.
“Everything was really clicking for us tonight from the start,” said Fenwick head coach John Quinn after the game. “Our guards were finding open players, and Peter and Tim got hot at different times.”
Delany’s quickness at guard helped trump the play of Austin’s Huey Irving, who led the Tigers with 24 points. Irving came out firing threes. The southpaw connected on 2 of 4 in the first few minutes of action before Delany held him to just two points in the second quarter.
“Newman is a gutsy player, and he played real well tonight,” said Quinn. “He’s not only a great defender but he’s more or less our assist man on offense. If you’re open on the court, he seems to zone in on you.”
Austin set up a full-court press five minutes into the third, but the effort didn’t seem to slow down the Friars, who built a 23-point lead.
“They took us out of our game and we had no way to recover,” said Austin assistant coach Bob Vostal of Fenwick. “It all seemed to happen so fast. We really didn’t have time to react.”
Fenwick’s crowd, near capacity on the east side of the fieldhouse, roared when Shaw executed the long forgotten sky hook outside the key in the second period.
The closest Austin got was when Irving nailed a three-pointer to briefly tie the score up at 13-13 in the first period.
If the Friars managed to upset St. Joe’s last night, then they’ll likely take on Proviso East in the Farragut Sectional championship on Friday night (7:30 p.m.).
Fenwick loses eight seniors to graduation this season, including Shaw and Flowers.