The Fenwick High School girls basketball team hoped to give senior players Audrey Hetzer, Mary Kate Kapsch, Gianni Ortiz and Maggie Van Ermen a win in their final regular-season home game.
“It’s a special night,” Fenwick coach Dave Power said about Senior Night. “I got to tickled to death to put out a girl that hasn’t played all year (Kapsch). When I look at Mary Kate – who hasn’t been medically cleared to play – and put her in the starting lineup, I couldn’t have been more proud. In fact, I’ve never had to do that – put two injured girls (Ortiz, Kapsch) in the lineup and call timeout to get them out.”
Unfortunately, visiting Marist spoiled the party. The Redhawks scored the game’s first ten points and never trailed en route to a 47-44 victory on Saturday.
“The emotions of Senior Night, sometimes the girls get a little too wound up,” Power said. “The first quarter showed that. Marist is a nice team, but I loved how our girls came back. The difference in the game was that we had a few too many unforced turnovers.
“I don’t like losing, but I loved the fact that our girls never quit. We were right down to the wire, but we just have to do a better job of getting off to better starts.”
Fenwick (19-11) committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone. One reason for the staggering amount may be due to the absence of Ortiz, the team’s starting point guard. She suffered a severe ankle sprain recently and Power lamented her loss.
“We really missed G tonight,” he said. “She’s one of our leaders. She’s our captain and floor general.”
Despite the numerous first-half turnovers, Fenwick battled back. After falling behind 10-0, the Friars outscored Marist 20-15 the remainder of the first half to trail 25-20 at intermission.
Marist seemed poised to put the game out of reach, increasing its lead to 41-30 in the third quarter. However, the Friars put together a fourth-quarter rally that brought them within one possession on a couple of occasions. Fenwick could never tie or take the lead though, and turned the ball over on its final possession with three seconds left in the game.
Abby Callahan led Marist (19-7) with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Syd Affolter added 15 points for the Redhawks.
Freshman forward Audrey Hinrichs led Fenwick with 11 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Lauren Hall (10 points, 5 rebounds), freshman Elise Heneghan (6 points, 6 rebounds), and junior Lily Reardon (6 points, 3 assists) also played well for the Friars.
“Lauren had an outstanding game,” Power said. “It was like there were three or four of her out on the court. She was everywhere.”
Power also cited contributions from Hetzer and Van Ermen.
“I really liked Audrey’s game. She got out there and had a nice three-point play right before halftime,” he said. “And Maggie (5 points, 4 rebounds against Marist) has had a really nice season.”
After a few seasons of hovering around .500, Fenwick is poised to reach the 20-win mark this year. That’s a number Power is proud of considering the Friars’ youth and relative inexperience.
“We’ve been in every game,” he said. “A play here or there, and it comes out different. When you have a mix of young talent with the older talent, you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes freshmen play like seniors and sometimes the seniors, you wonder where they went. But when we have a game where we’re all on the same page, we’re going to be unstoppable. As we did last year, we feel we have a good shot at getting Downstate this year.”
A major advantage the Friars have this season is that they host a Class 3A sectional. Fenwick is the No. 2 seed. Nazareth Academy is the top seed. The Friars lost a close game to the Roadrunners – the eventual 2018 3A runner-up – last year in the St. Joseph Sectional final.
“We’ve got a little ways to go before we worry about that,” Power said of a possible sectional final rematch with Nazareth. “It’s been awhile since we accomplished a 20-win season. Without question, we play not just one of the best schedules in the area, but we play the best. No one plays the type of schedule we do.
“Marist is a wonderful team that may go far (in 4A). Think of this, too, we played Benet and Mother McAuley within a 24-hour period. We also played Montini and Fremd within 48 hours. We’ve asked a lot from these girls but when the second season starts, we’re going to be refreshed with some pep in our step and ready to go.”