The Fenwick High School girls basketball team was hoping to send head coach Dave Power downstate in his final season as it met Nazareth Academy in an IHSA Class 3A supersectional on Feb. 28 at De La Salle in Chicago.
But the Roadrunners started the game with a 9-0 run, putting the Friars in a hole they couldn’t escape from as the season — and Power’s career — ended with a 46-30 loss.
“The start really hurt us,” Power said. “[Nazareth] is a very talented team. Defensively, they cause problems.”
The hot outside shooting of Nazareth junior guard Grace Carstensen also hurt Fenwick. Carstensen drilled four of her six three-pointers in the first half and finished with a game-high 19 points.
Fenwick (23-11) didn’t get its’ first points until 2:18 to go in the first quarter on a basket by junior Cam Brusca. That was to be the Friars’ only scoring in the period, which ended with Fenwick trailing 12-2.
“In the beginning, we needed to get on their shooters,” said Fenwick senior forward Elise Heneghan. “If we played defense how we did the rest of the game, I think it would’ve been a much different game. But trying to dig ourselves out of that early hole, that’s what held us down for most of the game.”
Fenwick began the third quarter trailing 25-15, and the Friars continued to struggle offensively, not getting its first basket until more than five minutes into the quarter on a three-pointer by Mia Caccitolo.
Nazareth’s interior defense was stingy all game, not allowing Fenwick’s post players — Heneghan, Amanda Behrend-Hansen and Audrey Hinrichs — many clean touches. The pressure led to multiple turnovers as the Friars finished with 21 for the evening.
“We’ve played against zones, but that was more aggressive than we’ve seen,” Heneghan said. “Posting up was a challenge, and it was a solid defense for sure.”
The Roadrunners (32-2) opened up their biggest lead at 38-23 with 6:44 to play, and Fenwick could come no closer than 12 afterwards.
“I feel bad. The girls had a great season,” Power said. “I’m very proud of them. We had a lot of big wins and proved we can play against anybody, but that start just killed us tonight.”
Hinrichs finished with a team-high 10 points and added seven rebounds for the Friars. Brusca had six points and Heneghan (4 rebounds) and Mia Caccitolo each scored four.
Heneghan said she’ll remember the closeness and chemistry she had with her classmates.
“It was a really good four years,” she said. “I’ve been playing with a lot of them since I was 8 years old.”
Fenwick now begins the process of finding only its second head girls basketball coach in school history. But whoever winds up with the job should have a solid foundation to retool around as Brusca, Raina Ford, Allie Heyer and Grace Kapsch will be the top returning Friars.