Slipping by: Fenwick's Hannah Puckorius, a junior, slips by defenders during a practice last week.J. GEIL/Photo editor

Dave Power is gambling this season. Well, he’s coaching, not gambling, but the Fenwick girls basketball coach is betting (oops) that his new strategy is going to pay off.

With no legitimate go-to player this season, Power has instituted what he refers to as “Powerball,” where speed, muscle and accuracy will be the Friars’ most deadly weapons.

The style caused havoc for a few opponents over the summer, but has slightly slowed the team’s progress due to minor injuries in early-season practices. “We have a few pulled muscles here and there, and that is likely the side effects of all the running we’ve been doing,” explained Power, who is entering this 20th season at Fenwick.

Keeping the fast-paced tempo going this season will likely be returners Jade Owens (5-7, sophomore), Meredith Boardman (6-1, senior) and Marek Burchett (5-10, senior). The three helped the Friars to a 26-5 record last season. Others that will see significant playing time include Paige Corvino (5-5, senior) Maggie Reilly (5-9, junior), Hannah Sophie (5-10, junior), Hannah Puckorius (5-8, junior), Ashley Schaefer (5-11, senior), Maya Garland (5-5, junior), Kendall Boardman (5-9, junior), Alanna Maloney (5-9, junior), Mary Devereux (5-7, senior), Sarah Pezza (5-8, junior) and Eva Brundage (5-9, junior).

Power can’t really pin-point five starters, simply because such a distinction is irrelevant under the new style of play. “The toughest part of the offense is you have to run all the time,” he said. “It’s quite demanding. That’s why we will be doing a lot of substituting. Our best five players will not be in the first group.”

Along with switching personnel on a consistent basis, Power said he’ll be busy hollering out a non-existent shot clock on occasion during games. “Since we don’t have shot clocks in Illinois, I will be a human shot clock for our team. It’s all part of the style of play we will be doing. We need to have a shot off by a certain amount of time,” he said. “We want to attempt 80 shots per game, while forcing the action at both ends with traps and such.

“The talent we have this season has dictated what we’re going to do, and we’re not going to back off as the season progresses.”

Three-pointers are also to factor heavily into the Friars’ offense. The team hit 14 in a game over the summer, but lost.

The team will also be looking to regain its dominance in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, a 17-straight title reign they held up until last season. Marian Catholic, who finished first last season, as well as Marist, are likely to be top contenders this season.

“We’re more than happy with an underdog role this season,” said Power, who holds an impressive 822-211 career coaching record, that includes two state titles as Fenwick’s head coach. “I like being an underdog better than being a front runner.”

The Friars open the season at home against Wheeling as part of the Niles North Tournament on Friday, Nov. 18 (7:30 p.m.).

Up Close

Key returners: Jade Owens, Meredith Boardman

Newcomers: Maya Garland

2010-11 record: 26-5 overall

Tidbit: Power had his team shoot 100 three-pointers, and go up against boys during preseason practices.

2011-12 Home Schedule

Fri., Nov. 18 vs. Wheeling, 7:30 p.m.

Thurs., Dec. 1 vs. Loyola, 7 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 7 vs. Carmel, 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 28 vs. Nazareth, 2:30 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 3 vs. Montini, 7 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 5 vs. Providence, 2:30 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 11 vs. Marian Catholic, 2:30 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...