OPRF's guard Darnesha Fraley (24) looks to shoot on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, during a varsity basketball game against Proviso East at Morton College in Cicero. | Alex Rogals

The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls basketball team went 1-3 in the Morton College Christmas Tournament held Dec. 27-30.

The Huskies’ first two games were losses against two of the Chicago area’s top programs, Evanston Township and Benet Academy. But after a 48-34 defeat at the hands of Rolling Meadows on Dec. 29, OPRF ended the tournament on a positive note with a 50-33 victory over Proviso East on Dec. 30. The 50 points were the most the Huskies (5-8) have scored this season.

“It was very important,” said OPRF coach Carlton Rosemond of the win. “I’ve been preaching to the girls all week that we’ve been playing well defensively, and to see that coming to fruition in the last game gives us a confidence boost.”

OPRF played the entire week without four key players in Sophia Henry, Keira Kleidon, Martha Lipic and Cydney MacDonald. Rosemond said he believed that, in a way, it was a blessing in disguise, because it allowed other players to gain valuable experience.

“Kids like Angelina Sunardio and Lauren Kelly got to play,” he said. “And Libby [Majka] really stepped up. She can play with anybody.”

Majka had a team-high 17 points in OPRF’s win, a game which saw the Huskies outscore the Pirates 30-12 in the second half.

OPRF’s guard Kennedy Jones (22) dribbles the ball down court on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, during a varsity basketball game against Proviso East at Morton College in Cicero. | Alex Rogals

As OPRF enters the heart of the West Suburban Conference-Silver Division schedule, Rosemond said the fate of the Huskies will be determined by how they play defensively.

“Our defense has to be our offense,” he said. “If we can force turnovers, we can produce some points as we continue to work through our offensive challenges.”

Offensively, OPRF has tended to pass up good, wide-open looks. While Rosemond says that’s due to the unselfish nature of the team, he feels his players shouldn’t be afraid to take shots when they have a good opportunity.

“I tell the girls in practice that we have to be confident,” he said. “I think what happens is that we take a shot and miss, and then get to the point where we don’t take them at all. The only way to make shots is take shots, and we’ll continue to work towards that. Hopefully, there’ll be light at the end of the tunnel soon as far as our offense is concerned.”

Rosemond said he felt the Huskies were competitive for the majority of the tournament, but one bad quarter in each of the first three games was costly.

“To battle through our challenges and break through was huge,” he said. “It lets me know our girls are growing and getting better.”

OPRF looks to build off of the win when the Huskies welcome Lyons Township High School on Jan. 7 in a West Suburban Silver contest. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Mixed bag for Fenwick at Dundee-Crown

The Fenwick High School girls team went 1-2 at the 38th annual Komaromy Charger Classic held at Dundee-Crown High School on Dec.27-30.

“We played very well the last three halves [of the tournament],” said Fenwick assistant coach Dale Heidloff. “We were down by 20 in our second game and cut the deficit down to three. It was a turning point for us, and against [St. Charles North], we played solid.”

After their first-round game against Naperville Central on Dec. 27 was canceled due to COVID-19 protocol, the Friars (9-6) fell to eventual tournament runner-up Barrington in a quarterfinal the next day 75-39. Mira Schwanke led Fenwick in scoring with 19 points, including four three-pointers.

On Dec. 29 against Lake Park, Fenwick’s late rally wasn’t enough, falling 52-44. Elise Heneghan had 19 points and Grace Kapsch 12 in the effort.

The Friars ended the tournament on a positive note Dec. 30 with a 40-29 victory over St. Charles North. Cam Brusca led a balanced Fenwick attack with 10 points. Audrey Hinrichs, Heneghan, and Kapsch each added six points, while Mia Caccitolo and Schwanke had five apiece.

Heneghan and Schwanke were named to the all-tournament team.

“They took on the senior leadership the second half of the tournament,” Heidloff said. “They both played very well.”

It’s been a bit of a struggle for the Friars, who have battled numerous injuries and other absences, but Heidloff said the team, despite being shorthanded at Dundee-Crown, is starting to jell.

“They’re getting back to where we expected them to be,” he said. “We have to get much stronger defensively and execute our things offensively. The last couple of days, I saw some things that I was very happy about.”

Fenwick’s next scheduled game is at home on Jan. 6 against St. Ignatius in a Girls Catholic Athletic Conference-Red Division matchup. Tip time is 7 p.m.

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