Despite having a sophomore-laden roster, the Fenwick High School boys basketball team had a very good season, finishing 21-13 and dropping a hard-fought IHSA Class 3A De La Salle Sectional title game to St. Ignatius.
The Friars improved their win total by 12 games over 2021-22 and the program reaped a big award March 28 as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association named Tony Young as the Coach of the Year for District Seven.
“It always feels good to be recognized after the season,” said Young, who just completed his second season at the helm of the Friars. “But the reward goes to my boys; if they don’t win games and take care of business, nobody’s thinking about me right now.”
Young felt that the way his players responded to his coaching was an important part of this year’s success.
“It’s not easy to play for me, because I demand a lot out of them,” he said. “The stuff I teach is not something most high school kids don’t learn. Our kids are young, and the fact that they took heed and stepped up, there are no complaints.”
Young also gave credit to his varsity assistant coaches, Brian Daly, DeAndre Evans, and Kris Harris, as well as sophomore coaches Dionte Gray and Cory Moses.
“The staff is so important. I couldn’t do it without those guys,” he said. “It’s a group effort.”
With all but one player returning next season, expectations are sure to rise for Fenwick. But Young said the Friars aren’t concerned about what outsiders think. Instead, they’re trying to live up to standards they have internally set.
“We can’t think about anybody else’s expectations. We’ve got to stay focused on what we’re trying to do,” he said. “When you start thinking about what everyone thinks of you, that’s when you start messing up.”
Fenwick begins the offseason with the goal of continued improvement. Young hopes the Friars can take the next steps forward as a program, and how they approach the summer will be key.
“It’s about to get serious starting next season,” he said. “College coaches come out in June, so in our offseason routine, we’ve got to get ready for that.”