New Fenwick High School boys basketball coach Tony Young had a challenging debut opponent on Nov. 24 – Orr High School, considered one of the top teams in the Chicago Public League.
The Friars managed to stay competitive with the visiting Spartans in the first half. But with several players missing due to either football or injury, Fenwick wore down in the second half as Orr pulled away for a 72-52 victory.
Despite the outcome, Young thought playing a strong team like the Spartans was beneficial for his young players.
“We played a lot of freshmen and sophomores tonight who hadn’t had varsity experience,” he said. “I told them afterwards that this isn’t the time to get frustrated. This is game one of a long season. It’s a marathon.”
Senior forward Gabe Madej was the only player against Orr who had significant varsity experience. He scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the first half, including 11 in the opening quarter, as Fenwick trailed 39-34 at intermission despite Spartans guard Cameron Lawin (26 points) drilling six three-pointers.
But the Friars went ice-cold in the third quarter, scoring just two baskets while being outscored 18-6. Then in the fourth quarter, Orr forward Caleb Hannah scored 10 of his game-high 28 points to keep Fenwick at bay.
One bright spot for the Friars was the play of freshman guard Ty Macariola, who finished with 18 points.
“Ty played well,” Young said. “I’m excited about him and the other young guys. I keep telling them you’ve got to roll with the punches because you never know will happen.”
Fenwick will face crosstown rivals Oak Park and River Forest High School on Dec. 3 at the Chicago Elite Classic, held at Credit One Arena on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus. Tip time is scheduled for 6 p.m.