It's appropriate to anticipate the Fenwick girls basketball team competing in the Class AA State tournament this season, especially after the Friars made playing two games in one day against ranked teams look easy on Saturday.
The Friars have a chance to play a doubleheader one more time this season: On Saturday, March 4, the day of the Class AA State semifinal and final.
The Friars (25-1) crushed seventh-ranked Maine South 45-31 in the first of their two games at the Sweet 16 tournament held at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Fenwick didn't let up in Game 2, edging 10th-ranked New Trier 60-55.
Fenwick's defense stymied Maine South from the get-go as the Friars took a lofty 24-8 lead into halftime.
Devereaux Peters led the Friars with 19 points, while Alison Jackson added 12. It was Erin Power who fed Peters and Jackson for much of the game. Power tallied 11 assists, 19 total on the day.
Peters and Jackson combined to score 41 points in Fenwick's victory over New Trier. Maggie Kloak added 11 key points, including eight in the second period when Peters went to the bench with early foul trouble. In addition, taking on the Trevians' 6-foot-5-inch Amy Jaeschke was no simple task. Jaeschke scored 25 points and hauled down 10 rebounds despite playing in foul trouble for much of the second half.
"Maggie played an important role in the win over New Trier," said Fenwick head coach Dave Power. "She stepped up when we needed her to, and she helped keep Jaeschke contained. She's been doing a lot of the grunt work for us. It seems the bigger the game, the better she plays."
The only concerns Power said he has right now is at the free-throw line. The Friars made 14 of 20 in the win over Maine South, but missed six in a row in the fourth quarter against New Trier.
"That's something we'll address," said Power. "We can't miss those shots. You can let opponents back into a game if you don't make your free throws, and the team knows that. Of course, you could say they missed those free throws in the fourth of the second game due to fatigue, but that's still something we can remedy."
Fenwick, whose only loss this season has come by way of a team from Missouri, geared up for the doubleheader by polishing off Mother McAuley 56-41 on Thursday. Peters led the onslaught with 10 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks.
On Jan. 24, the Friars wiped 20th-ranked Joliet Catholic off the board with a 68-41 victory. Peters led with 20 points, while Jackson added 13. The win pushed Fenwick one step closer to securing its 12th consecutive East Suburban Catholic Conference championship.
Power said the difference between this team and any of his five that have gone to the Elite Eight in the last six years is good defense.
"This is one of the best defenses I've ever coached," he said. "They're also a real close-knit bunch, there's a real sense of team chemistry, and that carries over on the court. They help each other out when they need to."
The Friars host Marian tonight (Wednesday, 7 p.m.), and close up the Sweet 16 tournament against Palatine on Friday (7 p.m.).