They won’t be fast, but they will be accurate. In a nutshell, that’s how long-time Fenwick head girls basketball coach Dave Power describes this season’s team. With four returning starters in Tricia Liston, Katlyn Payne, Serafina Nuzzo and Colleen Forkin from a squad that went 29-6 last season, who’s to say the Friars can’t turn the fast-break into a “slow-break.”
Liston, a 6-foot-1 forward who has played on varsity since her freshman season, averaged 20 points per game last season. Payne battled foot injuries for 16 points per contest. The offense is centered on these two juniors, but Power insisted it won’t be a traditional format.
“We have a lot of new blood on the team this year that can really shoot lights out, and the returning players have improved tremendously,” he said. “So, what we’ve gone back to is what I like to refer to as zoom-ball, a crazy up and down style of play. While we’re not particularly fast, there will be a tremendous amount of running. Our strength is our fire-power. We have numerous players that can shoot well.”
Along with other returners in Grace Frank, Hannah Ballard (out with back injury), Molly McKenna, Sarah Williams and Kathleen Roche, Power has a deep bench filled with new faces. Newcomers include juniors Mia Mastrangeli and Annie Mullen, along with sophomore Kyra Navarrete. A 5-7 guard, Mullen is a transfer student from Hinsdale Central. Navarrete, a 5-11 forward, hails from Gordon Tech.
Power also has some young talent on his squad this season in freshmen Alyssa Dengler, Meredith Boardman and Tawny Tucci.
The one place the Friars may be vulnerable this year as they work on winning their 15th-straight East Suburban Catholic Conference title is defense.
“Our defense is still a work-in-progress,” said Power. “We certainly have the potential of putting up 100 points in a game this season, but with the departure of our top rebounders (Claire Liston and Lauren Gula), we need some of the younger players to step up.”
Not only will the Friars be shooting for their 15th-straight ESCC title this season, but also their sixth Niles North Thanksgiving tourney title and their fifth Dundee Crown Holiday tourney championship.
“I don’t think that there is a team in the entire state that has made such an improvement during the off-season,” said Power. The team really looks good, which is a little scary because they were pretty good to begin with.”