Gabe Madej (Sarah Minor/FILE)

Back in December when the Fenwick High School boys basketball team traveled to rival St. Ignatius, the Friars were blown out 67-38. So when the two schools met in an IHSA Class 3A sectional semifinal on March 1 at King High School in Chicago, the Friars were eager to put up a better showing.

While Fenwick did give a vigorous effort, it wasn’t enough as the top-seeded Wolfpack prevailed 62-45.

“At the end of the day, I’m proud of these guys,” said Fenwick coach Tony Young of his team, which finished 9-18 and won the Prosser Regional. “I’m proud of my seniors for the way they fought, and I’m extremely proud of our young boys because they didn’t know what they were stepping into. We had a very inexperienced team trying to do something special, and for them to make it this far and do the things they did this season, I’m proud.”

The game started out as a back-and-forth affair and was tied at 16 midway through the second quarter. But St. Ignatius (22-12), keyed by a pair of three-pointers by Reggie Ray and another by Richard Barron, went on a 14-2 run to take a 30-18 halftime lead.

“They had that one stretch where they hit a bunch of threes,” Young said. “It changed the game.”

Fenwick senior forward Gabe Madej poured in seven of his team-high 18 points in the third quarter to keep the Friars in the game. But the Wolfpack’s A.J. Redd countered with 10 points of his own to help St. Ignatius carry a 42-31 advantage into the final quarter. He then added 10 more points during his final eight minutes as the Wolfpack pulled away and secured victory.

Redd finished with a game-high 25 points. Barron added 14 points and four rebounds and Kolby Gilles 11 points, four rebounds, and two blocks for St. Ignatius.

Freshman Nate Marshall had nine points and senior Den Juette eight points and six rebounds for Fenwick, which loses five seniors to graduation.

“It took us a second to get going this season,” Young said. “But [the seniors] had us playing well at the end. I’m proud of Den, Gabe, T.J. [Stephenson], Brett [Bohaboy] and Lou [Leonardi]. They gave themselves to the team and it wasn’t easy, but they did and that’s what matters.”

Marshall leads a lengthy list of returnees, which includes freshmen Ty Macariola and Damion Porter Jr. along with sophomores Germaine Benson and Landon Rivers, all of whom saw significant playing time this season.

The Friars also boast some talent at the lower levels of the program. The freshmen teams had a combined record of 50-3, while the sophomores went 25-3.

“The future’s bright,” Young said. “I’m excited to see what our young guys do this spring and summer. This will be huge for us as now we know what we need to work on. We’ll get our feet planted and start implementing more stuff. The goal was to be better at the end of the season, and we were.”

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