A loss isn’t the best way to end the regular season, but if you’re the Fenwick girls basketball team it’s certainly not the end of the line.

The Friars (26-3), who were riding an 11-game win-streak and coming off their 16th-straight East Suburban Catholic Conference championship victory, fell to Hinsdale Central 46-44 on Saturday afternoon.

Fenwick, which led up until the final two minutes of action, was without forward Kathleen Roche, who suffered a sprained ankle against Simeon two nights prior. Center Meredith Boardman left the game against the Red Devils in the fourth with a hip-pointer.

Tricia Liston led the Friars with 24 points, but was held scoreless in the final period as Hinsdale Central managed the clock well. Sarah Williams added 12 points for the Friars.

Stanford-bound Toni Kokenis led Hinsdale Central with 25 points.

“Not to take anything away from Hinsdale Central, but we seem to play out of sync when we’re missing someone from the lineup,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Power. “We’ve lost three games this season, two of which were without Liston in the lineup. We lost our rhythm a bit and it hurt us. But they did a good job of managing the clock and keeping the ball out of our hands in the fourth quarter.”

The Friars scored just two points in the final period.

Power said he expects both Roche and Boardman back in the lineup when the playoffs begin this week, although neither player participated in practice on Monday.

The Friars begin their quest for the Class 4A State Championship when they host either Conant or Schaumburg tonight (Wednesday, 6 p.m.). A victory will pit the Friars against either Wheaton North or Glenbard West in the Oak Park Regional title game at Fenwick on Friday (7:30 p.m.).

Power said he’s not about to take anyone lightly in this sectional.

“There are a lot of good teams that are ranked or have been ranked in this sectional, so it’s certainly one of the strongest,” he said. “Not even the regional will be a breeze. I won’t be surprised if there are quite a few close games in our future.”

Power added that Hannah Ballard, who has been out nearly a month with a kneecap injury, is questionable for the playoffs.

The Friars could face No. 2 seed Elk Grove Village in the sectional title game Feb. 25. As of this writing, Elk Grove was 21-6 overall and ranked in the top 25. A victory over the Grenadiers would likely pit Fenwick against eighth-ranked New Trier (26-3) in the Loyola University Super-Sectional on March 1.

On Feb. 10, Liston scored 30 points and the Friars cruised to a 74-41 victory over Simeon in non-conference action. Kyra Navarette added 10 points for Fenwick in the win.

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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...