Over the top: Fenwick's Kathleen Roche pulls up for a quick jumper during Saturday's game.Photos courtesy JOHN T. BRENNAN

The Fenwick girls basketball team hasn’t lost an East Suburban Catholic Conference game in nearly four years — not since the 2006-’07 season anyway – and Saturday was no exception as the Friars cruised to a 53-41 victory over Benet in Oak Park.

Kathleen Roche’s 15 points led the Friars (8-1, 2-0) who are vying for their 17th-straight ESCC title this season. Lehigh-bound Sarah Williams added 12 points and Kryra Navarrete six.

Fenwick’s unyielding defense caused havoc from the get-go. Benet was held scoreless for the first six minutes of action, while the Friars took a 12-0 lead.

Fenwick finished the opening quarter with an eight-point lead and led by six at halftime.

Earlier in the week, the Friars put the hurt on conference foe Carmel, pummeling the Corsairs 51-36. Navarrete led the way with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Roche also finished with 16 points.

Fenwick’s two conference victories come on the heels of a 56-51 loss to Loyola on Dec. 1.

The Friars, who had kicked off their 2010-’11 campaign with a 6-0 record, were derailed by the Ramblers 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.”

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 Williams (20 points) and Roche (13 points), among others.

The Friars play on their home court for the next three games before traveling to Dundee Crown for the Charger Holiday Tournament. Fenwick was to host Lincoln-Way East last night (Dec. 14, after deadline), Schaumburg on Thursday and Proviso West on Dec. 22. All games begin at 7 p.m.

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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...