There isn’t a lot that Dave Power hasn’t seen during his illustrious career as Fenwick’s girls basketball head coach. On Feb. 4, however, he was left speechless after the Friars upset Evanston High School on a half-court buzzer-beater by senior Elise Heneghan.
“You know I usually have a lot to say after these games,” said Power. “You’re going to have to talk to [the players and alumnae]. I have nothing for you right now. I’m so proud of this team.”
Power was honored before the game with a plaque from athletic director Scott Thies who also gave a speech about what Power has meant to the school and community.
An anonymous donor gave $500,000 toward the new “Power Locker Room,” where the plaque will be displayed outside the front entrance.
To add to the night’s celebration, Powers’ former players Erin Lawless, Tricia Liston, and Devereaux Peters (whose numbers are retired at Fenwick) were in attendance to support their former coach.
“I remember eighth-grade basketball when he would come to my school and I would be the most excited player to be able to play in front of him,” said former Friar and WNBA player Tricia Liston. “Whether it was winning a state title, yelling at us in practice, or little moments that happened on the bus, I have so many great moments with Coach Power that I am grateful for.”
Evanston’s head coach, Brittany Johnson, is also one of Power’s former players.
She tweeted before the game, “Attending Fenwick and being [coached] by Coach Power changed the trajectory of my life. I am beyond grateful to come back and coach against him on a night where the living legend is honored. As he always said, ‘Let’s play some balllllllllll!'”
Heneghan said after the game that in third grade she attended a camp led by Liston and that seeing her and the other alumnae meant a lot to the team.
“It’s really humbling to come back here and have players like [this team] look up to me and know who I am,” said Liston. “I know when I was their age that there were players that I looked up to who I couldn’t say ‘hi’ to because I was so nervous that they were in the gym. I think that’s the culture that Fenwick has built where there is always someone you can look up to.”
Throughout the night, the Friars held their own versus the Wildkits as both teams went back and forth until Evanston held a one-point lead with 30 seconds left. After the Friars failed to score on multiple opportunities at the rim, they fouled the Wildkits to force free throws. However, the Wildkits missed the front end of a one-and-one and Heneghan grabbed the rebound. With four seconds left, she dribbled to half-court and heaved up a shot that hit the backboard and went in.
“I am not going to lie, I really just threw it up there,” said Heneghan. “I looked at the clock and there were four seconds left. I took three or four dribbles and threw it up. I wanted it to go in, but I didn’t think it was going to, but it went in. Everyone played so well.”
The Friars’ dramatic regular season finale gives them momentum heading into the first round of the playoffs which start next week.
“We knew that this could be our last game at Fenwick,” said Heneghan. “For our seniors, this could have been their last time playing in this gym. We wanted to give them and everyone watching our all. It almost didn’t go our way, but it ended up working out.”