By James Kay
Going into this season, Fenwick girls basketball head coach Dave Power made sure his team played the top teams in the state to prepare for a deep postseason run.
After the Friars blew out Westinghouse 53-19 on Feb. 27 for the sectional title at home, Power and Co. are on track to meet their preseason expectations.
"The mix of veteran seniors and the young ones has really blended beautifully," said Power. "I knew we could make this type of run, but we aren't satisfied just being able to play [in the super-sectional]. We are going to give it everything we have and try to pull out a victory."
It didn't take long for the Friars to get out in front of the Warriors. The Fenwick defense came up big again in the first half as it did versus Trinity earlier in the week and held Westinghouse to eight points. Going into halftime, the Friars led the Warriors 30-8 and outrebounded them 24-8 in the first half.
The Friars pressed the Warriors from the onset, as Westinghouse struggled to get the ball past midcourt. Erin Power, Dave's assistant and daughter, suggested that the team press early on to stifle the Warriors' offense, a decision that was crucial in the win.
"I think we took a little bit of a gamble, and we came out as the aggressor," said Dave Power. "We pressed them, and it might have thrown them off a little bit since we just played 2-3 [zone] the entire time [during regionals]. That got us off to a good start."
The Friars outscored Westinghouse 17-9 in the third quarter before the game ended with a running clock as Fenwick was up by 30 points at that point.
Fenwick's Mira Schwanke had a game-high 11 points and knocked down three three-pointers. Audrey Hinrichs put up 10 points and four rebounds while junior Lauren Hall contributed seven points and eight rebounds.
Fenwick's sizeable lead versus Westinghouse came in spite of the injury sophomore starter Elise Heneghan obtained halfway through the first quarter. She didn't return to the game, but she described the injury as "minor" and confirmed her ankle won't keep her from playing in the next round of the postseason.
After taking home the sectional title, the Friars play Simeon in the super-sectional on March 2 at 7 p.m. at Concordia University, located on 7400 Augusta St, River Forest.
Simeon (32-2) and Fenwick (27-8) played earlier this season at the Chicagoland Showcase invitational on Jan. 4. The Wolverines overwhelmed the Friars with the star power of Aneesa Morrow and Khaniah Gardner (they combined for 53 points) in Simeon's 73-55 win.
However, getting a first look at one of the best teams in the state during the middle of the season could work in the Friars' favor.
"When you play top competition, you can only benefit from that," said Dave Power during a phone interview with Wednesday Journal on Feb. 28. "They are the public league champs and are a team that has been able to roll over their opponents in the playoffs so far. It's going to be a game where the team that has a hot hand will be the one in the driver's seat."
Answer Book 2019
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