The popular 54 is the Fenwick boys basketball team’s new favorite number, and it has nothing to do with Brian Urlacher, linebacker for the Super Bowl-bound Chicago Bears.
The Friars are 7-0 in games where they’ve scored 54 or more points, and only 2-7 when they’ve scored less than 54 points. The team’s last two games proved the numbers don’t lie.
With two sophomores and four juniors in the rotation now that senior Newman Delany is out temporarily with an enlarged spleen due to the effects of mononucleosis, Fenwick’s young squad stepped up to crush Guerin Prep 64-45 on Friday and Montini 63-43 on Jan. 17 to snap a four-game losing streak.
In Friday’s rout, the Friars (9-7, 1-2) jumped out to a 19-11 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, going into the break up 10, 32-22. Larry Walker, who turned out an outstanding overall performance against Montini, had 13 points, five assists, and two steals. The junior guard scored 17 points to go along with his four rebounds, three steals and five assists in the win over Montini.
Against Guerin, the Friars had four starters reach double figures in scoring, including Ryan Harbour who finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Derek Tartt finished with 11 points, while sophomore Xavier Humphrey added 10.
Nick Caldicott and John Comfort came off the bench against Montini to help the Friars with a combined 13 points. Fenwick outscored Montini 19-2 in the second quarter to take a 36-15 lead at halftime.
“We put consistent quarters together these last two games, and that’s something we hadn’t been able to do,” said Fenwick head coach John Quinn. “For awhile there, we would have one bad quarter that impacted the rest of the game.
“All seven of our losses, with the exception of Oak Park, we had a chance to win in the last three minutes of the game, which on the one hand is frustrating, but on the other we’re very close to correcting things. We’re anticipating a good last-month charge to the finish line.”
The Friars host St. Laurence on Friday (7:30 p.m.) and travel to Loyola University’s Gentile Center Sunday for a 12:30 p.m. game against Fenn in the Conference Challenge Shootout. Fenwick then travels to Loyola Academy on Jan. 30 to face Michael Jordan’s sons, Marcus and Jeffrey and the Ramblers. Loyola is undefeated at 17-0 and has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the state this season. The Friars have defeated Loyola four years in a row.
“Hopefully it will be five, but it will be a tall order,” said Quinn, who added that Delany could return to action in two weeks.
Fenwick returns home on Feb. 2 to host Gordon Tech (7:30 p.m.).