Board members: Meredith Boardman (No. 30) and Marek Burchette (No. 24) are expected to lead the Fenwick girls basketball team this winter.File 2011/JOHN T. BRENNAN

The summer was quite productive for the Fenwick girls basketball team.

Not only did the Friars rack up numerous victories in several tournaments, their up-tempo style seemed to jump gears, while their long-range shooting accuracy also improved immensely. Fenwick bucketed 14 three-pointers in the Minuteman Classic Tournament title game against Hillcrest. Junior-to-be Emily McGann was responsible for five of the 14 threes. Even low-post player Meredith Boardman nailed some shots from behind the arc over the summer, something head coach Dave Power was impressed with.

“Boardman developed into quite the versatile player over the summer,” said Power of his 6-foot senior center, who last summer was sidelined by a leg injury. “She hit three threes in a row in one game, and just played outstanding all-around ball. She was playing inside and out. It’s that type of improvement a coach wants to see over the summer.”

Boardman, along with senior Marek Burchette and sophomore-to-be Jade Owens, are expected to play major roles for the Friars this winter. It was Boardman who had a key rebound and game winning put-back in the closing seconds of Fenwick’s 63-61 win over Morgan Park in the McDonald’s Shootout last year.

Power said no one is likely to see only limited playing time next season.

“Our style won’t drastically change, but you’re going to see it jump up in speed like it did this summer,” said Power. “We have the depth with this group coming up. The level and speed we play at you can’t play without getting a rest. We are moving now. We’ve done something similar to this, but never this fast of a tempo. There’s no walking. We are always pressuring. Opponents tend to get flustered.

“I thought it would take a while for this group to catch on to the nuance of the style, but it didn’t. We’re going to stick to this and not back off. It’s going to be a collective effort.”

Power added that he even went so far as to holler out a phony 5-second shot clock in the middle of summer games, merely to motivate his players to shoot. “If they didn’t get a shot off in that time, I subbed all five players,” he said. “I was their human shot clock.”

Besides Owens, who started on varsity as a freshman last year and spent parts of the summer playing for her club team, Chicago Hoops Express, the Friars also received exceptional play from Maya Garland, Maggie Reilly, Paige Corvino and Mary Devereaux over the last couple of months.

Garland, who is going to be a sophomore in the fall, has a shot at making varsity this winter, according to Power.

“Based on her play this summer, Maya’s definitely going to be worth a good look,” he said.

For most improved player over the summer, Power went with a tie in junior power forward Sarah Cronin and Eva Brundage, who was up from the sophomore team. Brundage suffered a severe ankle sprain during the Minuteman Classic in early July and was unable to return to action.

“Eva was both tough on the boards and even popped a few threes for us before she was injured,” said Power. “She was on her way to good things. We’re hoping she’s going to be OK.”

The Friars, coming off a 26-5 season last year, lost four starters to graduation. The team’s transformation in the off-season was surprising to Power.

“The success over the summer was a little unexpected. I thought we’d lose more games than we did. So, I’m very pleased,” he said. “It’s still a work in progress, but it will be a fun season this winter. When folks see us play, they may think we’re a little crazy. We’re going to be running from the tip-off.”

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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...