Fenwick sophomore McKenzie Blaze drives down the court against De La Salle on Saturday, Dec. 12 in Oak Park. Blaze scored 16 points as the Friars defeated the Meteors 64-48. (William Camargo/Staff Photographer)

The past watched the future of the Fenwick High School girls basketball program on Saturday afternoon. Several members of Fenwick’s 2001 state championship team reunited at their alma mater (with babies and husbands in tow) to watch the current Friars defeat visiting De La Salle 64-48.

Fenwick head coach Dave Power, who visited with his former players during halftime, moved within three victories of his 900th as a high school basketball coach (897-269 record, 39th season).

“I told our athletic director [Scott Thies] when I hit 900, get me a Twinkie and put a candle in it,” Power said with a laugh. “I really think it’s about the kids. I’m thankful for all the great players I’ve had, and still have, at Fenwick.”

Fenwick (3-6) turned in its best eight minutes of basketball this season by outscoring De La Salle 22-6 in the first quarter. With 10 underclassmen on the roster, the Friars have plenty of inexperienced talent.

“I think in previous games, we tried to freestyle it too much,” sophomore forward Kate Moore said. “We ran our plays today. We also had five straight days of practice, which I think helped a lot.”

Sophomore forward McKenzie Blaze scored eight points in the first quarter via three free throws, a mid-range jump shot and a three-pointer to fuel the auspicious start. Blaze, who scored 26 points in a 59-52 win over Taft earlier this season, has expanded her game offensively this season.

“As a freshman, I was taking a lot of outside shots, but now I’m trying to get in the paint more,” Blaze said. “I’m very excited about our team. With so many young players, I think we have a great future ahead of us.”

After Blaze scored 8 of the Friars’ first 12 points, senior guard Kiki Sheard’s put-back basket triggered a 10-0 run to close the opening quarter.

Sheard, a versatile player who is one of only two seniors on team, had surgery on a torn ACL in April.

“It’s a slow progression, but I’m getting there,” Sheard said about recovery from surgery on her left knee. “I’m trying to get us to play together as a team. I don’t like ‘rugby scrum’ basketball as Coach Power calls it. We need to play together, pass the ball and get open shots for people. I feel like we can do great things this season.”

Led by seniors India Brazzelton (game-high 21 points) and Chardanae Hamilton (10 points), De La Salle outscored the Friars 27-21 during the middle quarters to move within striking distance.

With Fenwick leading 43-33 entering the fourth quarter, however, the Friars regained the momentum with a 12-2 spurt to build a 55-35 lead with 4:25 remaining in the game.

Blaze finished with a team-high 16 points and Moore scored 14 points. Freshman guard Audrey Hetzer also reached double figures with 10 points and Sheard contributed seven points.

The Friars received solid play from Bailey Forde, Chance Baggett, Gianni Ortiz, Margaret Planek, Kelly Carpenter and Charlotte Quinn.




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