The Fenwick girls basketball team’s first quarter against Loyola last week in Wilmette wasn’t anything like their start to the season.

The Friars, who had kicked off their 2010-’11 campaign with a 6-0 record, were derailed early by the Ramblers and suffered a 56-51 loss despite a late-game rally.

Loyola (5-1) jumped on a 7-1 run to start the game and ballooned the advantage to 21-7 by the end of the first quarter. The Friars, who connected on just 2-of-16 shots in the opening stanza, briefly cut the deficit to nine in the second period but the Ramblers ended the half up 33-18.

“We really shot ourselves in the foot in the first quarter,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Power, whose team last year crushed Loyola 67-28. “There are no excuses; Loyola shot great while we just shot tremendously cold and seemed stuck in cement.”

A Loyola player gave the Friars a gift to start the third by unintentionally scoring on Fenwick’s basket to put the score at 33-20. The player took an inbound pass and proceeded down the wrong end of the court for a layup. Fenwick cut the deficit to nine by the end of the quarter and turned up the pressure in the final period.

With less than two minutes to go, Fenwick got within 47-44. The Friars had the ball twice trailing 54-51 in the closing seconds but missed both opportunities and were forced to foul.

Loyola’s Katie Faught led all scorers with 24 points, including two key free throws to close out the game. Fenwick received contributions from Sarah Williams (20 points) and Kathleen Roche (13 points), among others.

“It wasn’t our best night that’s for sure, but the good news is we have some time off now from competition and we’re going to learn from this,” said Power. “Seven games in 14 days to start the season can wear a team down and I think that had something to do with it in this game.”

Power added that freshman phenom Jade Owens is likely to sit out the next couple of games in order for a hip injury to fully heal. “Jade is a great player and she has a long high school career ahead of her, so we want her to be 100-percent. I don’t think she’ll play in the next two or so games.”

Owens suffered a bruised hip before the season and re-aggravated the injury in a 60-57 victory over Proviso East on Nov. 28 in which she scored nine points.

“I’m not as bummed as usual after a loss,” added Power. “We’ll learn from this. We have some tough opponents coming up and it will be a challenging month, but I think we’ll be ready.”

The Friars, who are shooting for their 17th-straight East Suburban Catholic Conference title, travel to Carmel tonight (Dec. 8) and host Benet on Saturday (2:30 p.m.). Fenwick hasn’t lost a conference game since the 2006-’07 season.

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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...