Fenwick           58
Northridge Prep 32

Fenwick head basketball coach John Quinn would just like his team to play every quarter as if it were the third, because that’s when the Friars seem to excel the most.

Fenwick outscored Northridge Prep 18-2 in the third quarter on its way to a 58-32 victory on Saturday. On Friday, the Friars scored 21 points in the third quarter to help pave the way to a nail-biting 55-52 win over Gordon Tech. It was more of the same on Feb. 3 when Fenwick fell to Loyola 68-67, despite outscoring the Ramblers 22-17 in the third period.

“I wish they would play every quarter as if it were the third,” said Quinn of his Friars, who are now 13-9 overall and 4-2 in the Chicago Catholic League North. “I don’t know what it is, but we get down and have a huge third and either snag a win or lose by an eyelash.”

Against Northridge (18-3), it was Michael Black who led the charge in the third period for the Friars. Black scored 10 points in a span of four minutes in the period and Fenwick outscored Northridge 31-8 in the half. Vince Humphrey finished the game with 15 points for the Friars, while Dave Suwada came off the bench to add 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Evan Okrzesik, back from a bout with the flu, dished out eight assists for the Friars, who battled Gordon Tech down to the final buzzer the previous night.

In that game, Fenwick’s Jose Gamboa emerged as the hero, hitting a three-pointer with three seconds left to give his team the win. Fenwick hit five three-pointers in the third period and was up by as much as 12 before Gordon Tech rallied in the final stanza. The Crusaders took a 53-50 lead with three minutes to go, but Fenwick dug its way out of the predicament.

“The team stayed focused near the end of the game,” said Quinn. “We never should have let it get to that point, but I’m proud of the way they hung in there.”

The Friars were on the other end of a nail-biter against Loyola. The Ramblers’ Mike Sullivan nailed a three-pointer from NBA range with 16 seconds left to lift his team.

But the loss didn’t come without controversy. With just seconds on the clock, Okrzesik went up for the game-winning shot from under the basket but was pushed out of bounds by a Loyola defender. It appeared Okrzesik was fouled on the shot but there was no such call.

Black led the Friars against Loyola with 22 points.

The Friars travel to Hales Franciscan on Friday for a Catholic League cross-over game (7:30 p.m.).

“It’s that time of the year when the team needs to be getting better and not running in place,” said Quinn. “I think we’re there for the most part.”

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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...