By James Kay
Walking into Concordia University for the Class 3A IHSA Super-sectional between the Fenwick and Simeon girls basketball teams, you would have thought the Friars were playing a home game. The raucous Friar student section made its presence known as Fenwick went toe-to-toe with the best team in the state.
However, Simeon outscored the Friars 32-9 in the second half and came out with a 59-37 victory to end what has been one of the most successful postseason runs for Fenwick's program in recent memory.
"Honestly, we all wanted to get farther than we did last year," said sophomore Elise Heneghan. "After that upset [to Nazareth], it took a huge toll on us and we all came into this season wanting to improve. We lost to a great Simeon team, but we are going to learn from this."
After letting Simeon dictate the pace of the game when the two teams played each other on Jan. 4, the Friars slowed the game down from the onset. Despite allowing 16 points in the paint, Fenwick only surrendered six points in transition in the first quarter and trailed 19-11.
The momentum shifted in the second quarter when the Friar offense started to click. Fenwick whipped the ball around in their half court sets and freed up sophomore Audrey Hinrichs in the post. Simeon had no answer for her as she scored 18 points in the first half, leading Fenwick to a 28-27 lead going into halftime.
"After playing [Fenwick] earlier this season, we knew that they were going to go to [Heneghan and Hinrichs]," said Simeon head coach Johnny Davenport. "We struggled to contain them inside in the first half, but then we started to execute the game plan we had going into the game, which was to deny them the ball."
In the second half, Simeon didn't allow any breathing room for Heneghan and Hinrichs to operate the high-low game that has worked so well for them all season. Simeon dared the Friars to beat them from beyond the arc, and Fenwick struggled to bury shots from deep. They went 0-for-9 from three-point range and went 2-15 from outside the entire game.
"We have relied heavily on [Heneghan and Hinrichs] all year," said assistant coach Erin Power. "We are capable of shooting from the outside, but you can't depend on it in the way you can typically depend on those two. It was just one of those nights."
Hinrichs led the Friars with 19 points (Simeon contained her for one point in the second half) to go along with three rebounds. Heneghan (1-for-7 from the field) was held to five points and dealt with foul trouble early on in the first half.
Simeon's Aneesah Morrow had a game-high 21 points, 16 rebounds and four steals. Khaniah Gardner put up 12 points and four rebounds. Both players played the entire game as Simeon only ran out six players on the night (Fenwick had 10 players play six or more minutes).
Hinrichs and Heneghan have played for the same AAU team since sixth grade (where Fenwick head coach Dave Power used to be their head coach) and have continued to develop their chemistry on the court. They give Friar nation a reason to be optimistic when the team returns to action next fall.
"Not only do we have a lot of talent coming back, but the majority of that talent are all going to be juniors," said Erin Power. "Not only next year, but long term it is definitely exciting. Especially when you have two sophomores, who were the bulk of your production all year, are coming back and will only get better as the years go on."
Fenwick finishes its season 27-9. They averaged 51.7 points per game while only surrendering 42.3 points per game to their opponents.
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