Holiday Basketball Tournament Preview
The Fenwick girls basketball team will be shooting for its fourth straight Charger Classic Tournament when the Friars take on Bartlett tonight (7 p.m.) in the opening round at Dundee Crown.

A four-peat could be a tough challenge for the Friars (12-2), who lost four starters to graduation after winning the Class AA State Championship last season. Every opponent will be looking to knock Fenwick off its pedestal, especially since the team has hefted six Charger Classic championship trophies since 1999. But with a mediocre field at this year’s tournament and super sophomores Tricia Liston and Katlyn Payne, the Friars are likely to be playing No. 2-ranked Buffalo Grove in the championship game come Saturday (8 p.m.).

“We’re certainly capable of making it to the title game, but we are not going to look past anyone,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Power. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this team can beat anyone in the state, but on any given night, due to our youthfulness and inexperience, we could lose to anyone.”

A win tonight would pit Fenwick against either Dundee Crown or Prospect tomorrow at 8 p.m. If the Friars continue to win, they’ll play Friday night, again at 8 p.m. As of last week, Buffalo Grove was undefeated with 11-straight wins.

Huskies could meet Simeon

No doubt the pilgrimage to Pontiac this week will be bitter-sweet for OPRF head boys basketball coach Al Allen. The veteran coach, who has been sending his team to the downstate holiday tournament for years, is set to retire from coaching at the end of the season. The Huskies (9-4) could keep Allen cheery into the new year by doing well at this tournament. OPRF opens play tomorrow against Plainfield North (9:30 p.m.). A win would set the Huskies up against Warren on Friday at 8 a.m.

If all goes well for OPRF, the Huskies will likely face Simeon in the semifinals on Friday (2:30 p.m.). The Wolverines, who won the tournament and the Class AA State Championship last season, are ranked eighth in the state this season and boast guard Paul McGee and 6-foot-9-inch center Stanley Simpson.

OPRF last won the Pontiac Tournament in 1992.

First Friar
opponent formidable

The Fenwick boys basketball team drew a formidable first-round opponent for the 47th Annual Proviso West Holiday Tournament that begins in Hillside today.

The Friars play highly-ranked Homewood-Flossmoor today at 1:45 p.m. in Game 4 of the first round. The Vikings have been ranked as high as No. 2 in the state and as of last week hadn’t lost a game yet this season. Their sky-rocket up the rankings came after a 66-55 upset of Whitney Young on Dec. 9.

The Friars, who played Homewood Flossmoor twice over the summer to a 1-1 record, will be busy trying to shutdown stars Kevin Dillard, Robert Ellington and Suppo Sanni, who is headed to Illinois to play football in the fall. Sanni, a 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound guard, scored 25 points and hauled down 15 rebounds in the win over Whitney Young.

“We played them last year and did well against them, even led at one point in the fourth quarter, but we just couldn’t hold on,” said Fenwick head coach John Quinn. “We know them well and they know us well. We are not intimidated by them at all, but they are an outstanding team. We’ll have to play our best game.”

The winner moves into the second round to take on either Von Steuben or Proviso East tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. The losers in the first round would play at 10:30 a.m.

If the Friars have a rough go with H-F but win in the first round of the consolation bracket, they’ll play Friday at 11 a.m.

Marquee match-ups that could arise are H-F versus top-ranked Marshall in the semifinals on Friday at 6:30 p.m. or New Trier versus St. Joseph tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m.

New territory for OPRF girls

The OPRF girls basketball team will make its first appearance at the Oswego Holiday Tournament beginning today. The Huskies, who are seeded third and our guaranteed to play four games, open against West Chicago today at noon. Other teams in the field include Lemont, Plainfield Central, and No. 1 seed Driscoll.

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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...