Fenwick 78
Wheaton N. 43

By the time its head coach showed up in the second half of the Fenwick Regional Championship, the Fenwick girls basketball team had already put its opponent away.

With assistant coaches filling in for Dave Power, who was busy fighting Friday night traffic on his way home from attending the funeral of his father in Pennsylvania, the Friars jumped off to a blistering 21-8 lead over Wheaton North. Power arrived in time to see his team finish with a 78-43 victory and to accept the program’s 13th straight regional title trophy. The popular head coach, who missed Fenwick’s victory over Proviso West in the semifinal, even left his starters in to begin the fourth quarter despite a 40-point lead. No doubt, Power wanted to do some last minute coaching.

The Friars tossed down three straight 3-pointers to end the first quarter with the 13-point lead and then hit 10-of-10 free throws in the second to head into halftime with a cushiony 44-19 advantage. Tricia Liston, who finished with a game-high 28 points, tallied 19 in the first half. Serafina Nuzzo added 10 of her 12 points in the first two periods of play for the Friars, who took on Conant last night (after deadline) in the opening round of the Lake Park Sectional.

“We wanted to go out there and from the beginning make a statement,” said Liston after the game. “Strong starts, especially in the playoffs, are always good. We hadn’t been doing that earlier in the season, but now we’ve turned that around.”

Liston’s sophomore sidekick, Katlyn Payne, added 10 points in the win.

Michelle Scandora led Wheaton North (18-9) with 17 points.

“The team played really well from what I saw, and my assistants did a good job,” said Power, who called two quick timeouts upon arriving to get a fix on his team. “They were ready and they came out from the beginning and got the job done. You can’t ask for anything more of them.”

Last week, Power was selected by the National Federation of State High School Associations to receive the 2007 Central Sectional Coach of the Year Award for girls basketball. The central section includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. As the central sectional winner, Power, who was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005, is automatically considered a finalist for the National Coach of the Year Award in his sport.

If the Friars were able to get by Conant last night, they’ll take on either the winner of the Bartlett Regional or the Willowbrook Regional tomorrow night (Thursday) in Roselle at Lake Park (7:30 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...