Fenwick's Darshan Thomas lays in the game-winning basket with 2.6 seconds left against DePaul Prep in a Chicago Catholic League Blue game Jan. 20. Thomas had 12 points and seven rebounds as the Friars scored the last seven points for a comeback 33-31 victory. | Carol Dunning

Trailing by five points late against visiting DePaul Prep in a Chicago Catholic League Blue boys basketball game Jan. 20, Darshan Thomas and his Fenwick High School teammates knew what had to be done.

“We had to get stops,” he said. 

That’s exactly what the Friars did, going on a 7-0 run in the final 50 seconds to pull out a hard-fought 33-31 victory over the Rams.

Thomas, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, scored the game-winning basket with 2.6 seconds left thanks to a great defensive play by Dominick Ducree.

“Dom got the strip and I ran to the basket as hard as I could,” he said. “As soon as he passed it, I was wide open. This game was important, and we knew we had to come out with a win.”

Fenwick (13-9, 3-4 in CCL Blue) started its game-winning rally with 49.8 seconds left. Nate Marshall (6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals) stole a DePaul inbounds pass and laid it in for a basket.

“We love Nate,” said Thomas of Marshall, who recently returned from a football injury. “He’s our motor, fuel, and energy, and it’s great having him back.”

After the Rams’ Robert Walls missed the front end of a one-and-one on the ensuing possession, Thomas grabbed the rebound. Fenwick pushed the ball up-court, and D.J. Porter (6 points, 2 assists, 2 steals) found Thomas for a 3-pointer that tied the game at 31-31 with 30.6 seconds left.

Fenwick’s Nate Marshall brings the ball upcourt against DePaul Prep in a Chicago Catholic League Blue game Jan. 20. Marshall had six points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals as the Friars rallied late for a 33-31 victory. | Carol Dunning

As DePaul tried to set up a final shot in the closing seconds, Kameron Hogan stepped in front of Walls, allowing Ducree to strip the ball. Ducree found Thomas streaking down the right sideline and passed to him for the game-winning basket.

“The kids did exactly what we asked them to do,” said Fenwick coach Tony Young. “They forced the guy into a trap and Darshan came up with the big layup to seal it. Players got to make plays, and that’s what they did at the end.”

On Jan. 17, Fenwick defeated visiting St. Francis de Sales 59-43. Porter led the Friars with 15 points and four assists. Marshall had 12 points, four assists and three rebounds, while Caleb Burgins added 11 points and two assists.

As the regular season heads into the final month, Thomas believes it’s important for the Friars to maintain poise from beginning to end.

“We need to work on being able to finish a game strong,” he said. “We always come out with good energy, but once things start to go rough, we need to stick together.”

After a home contest with Providence-St. Mel on Jan. 24, after Wednesday Journal’s print deadline, Fenwick embarks on a four-game road trip, beginning at CCL Blue leader Mount Carmel on Jan. 27.

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