Waiting game: Fenwick's John Planek pauses to fake out two St. Rita defenders during the Friars' game on Friday night.Photos by JOHN T. BRENNAN/Contributor

A fourth quarter meltdown wiped away what earlier in the game looked to be a sure-win for the Fenwick boys basketball team on Friday night in Oak Park.

Coming off a dizzying 71-30 loss to Hales the week before, the Friars (7-8, 3-3) came out strong against Catholic League foe St. Rita and led up until the final period when the bottom dropped out. Fenwick was outscored 23-9 in the stanza and walked away with a disappointing 66-55 loss, its third in a row since upsetting De La Salle on Jan. 7.

St. Rita’s fourth-quarter surge came by way of Luke Barry, who hadn’t scored up until the final period. Barry hit four three-pointers and finished with 15 points.

“They just went on a run and we ran out of gas,” said Fenwick head coach John Quinn of his Friars, who had six turnovers in the fourth and made just 2-of-10 from the field. “It’s a very disappointing loss for us. We’re better than this, but since beating De La Salle we’ve hit a wall of sorts.”

The Friars led 26-23 at halftime and went up 36-28 at one point in the third. They held a three-point lead going into the fourth.

Sam Ainsworth led Fenwick with 14 points. He also had six rebounds. Tyler Sewall added 12 points, all on three-pointers, for the Friars, while Pat Hart chipped in 10.

“We need to get back on the other side of the coin,” said Quinn. “One positive was our free-throw shooting. We are doing a lot better in that regard.”

Fenwick made 13-of-19 free throws in the game, 5-of-6 in the fourth.

“We need much more focus and more competitive practices. We’ve had lackluster weeks of practice and it leads to poor games,” said Quinn.

Quinn added that it’s vital for teams to be improving at this juncture in the season. “We need to right the ship and do it quickly,” he said. “We need to gain some momentum in February.”

The Friars travel to St. Joseph on Friday and take on St. Laurence on Sunday at Loyola University (2 p.m.).

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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...