Fenwick had all it could handle against Whitney Young during their Class 4A regional final clash on Friday night, but that’s nothing new. The Friars haven’t ducked anybody all season, thanks to their heavyweight schedule. Fenwick (17-10) stood toe to toe with the Dolphins, who ultimately prevailed 52-47 in the Farragut Regional.

With Gov. Pat Quinn (1967 Fenwick alum and brother of coach John Quinn) in attendance, the inspired Friars took an early 7-0 lead, but Marcus Jordan’s key three-pointer and layup just before halftime propelled Young to a 28-21 lead. Fenwick opened the third quarter with a 13-5 spurt to regain momentum and a 34-33 advantage. Tied at 43-43 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, Chris Colvin drained a clutch jumper to give Young (21-9) the lead for good.

“We jumped them early, and then Young turned up their pressure which we expected,” John Quinn said. “The fourth quarter was a chess match.”

Mike Black paced Fenwick with 19 points, while Xavier Humphrey added 11 and Evan Okrzesik had 10. With star guard Ahmad Starks out (fractured wrist), Jordan and Anthony Johnson each scored 14 for Young.

In the regional semifinals, the Friars pulled out an amazing 63-60 double-overtime win over host Farragut. Humphrey scored on an acrobatic layup with 49 seconds left in the second overtime to put Fenwick up 61-60. Okrzesik (16 points) made 2-of-4 free throws to seal the win.

“The [Farragut] game was an incredible win and a tribute to our senior kids,” Quinn said. “They did not want to be ‘one and done’ in the playoffs.”

During the regular season, Fenwick garnered several impressive wins, notably over St. Patrick (twice), Foreman, Mount Carmel and Hales. The Friars also captured the St. Patrick Thanksgiving Tournament championship, posted a perfect record (7-0) at home, and finished among the top six teams at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament.

Fenwick did fall short in its bid to repeat as Catholic League North champs, posting a 4-3 mark in conference to finish fourth.

“What hurt us was playing three heavyweights [Leo, St. Ignatius, and Loyola] all on the road and losing those games,” noted Quinn.

Team captains Humphrey, Black and Okrzesik capped off their Fenwick careers in fine fashion.

Humphrey (16.2 points per game, 7 rebounds, 1,344 career points) and Black (15.2 points per game, 4 rebounds, 2.4 assists) were both All-Catholic League first-team selections, while Okrzesik (9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) earned second-team all-conference recognition and led the Catholic League in assists. Fellow senior Jose Gamboa served as a valuable swingman with a penchant for hitting big shots.

Next season, 6-foot-7 center Dave Suwada, a player capable of averaging a “double-double” according to Quinn, returns along with Jack Dittmer, Patrick McGrail and Xavier Vergara. Tim Gancer, Tyler Sewall, and John Malone, players from the Friars’ sophomore squad which went 21-5 this season, will add depth.

“We’re losing like 75 percent of our scoring to graduation,” Quinn said. “We have a lot of work to do this summer, but next year’s team has the potential to be good.”

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...