Fenwick tops Taft in home finale

Moore, Blaze power Friars to Senior Night victory

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Melvin Tate

Contributing Reporter

The Fenwick High School girls basketball team was supposed to have its Senior Night and regular-season finale against Peoria on Feb. 8. However, Mother Nature spoiled those plans with a major snowstorm.

Head coach Dave Power wanted to get one last game in before the start of the state tournament, so he looked for an opponent to play on Saturday. Taft, a ChicagoPublic School, agreed to face the host Friars in a Saturday matinee.  

The Friars cruised to a 55-32 win over the Eagles.

"(Taft) Coach (Kirk) Vidas is a class act, bringing his team here on short notice," Power said. "He was missing a couple of players who couldn't make it, yet still agreed to play this game.

"As a result, our seniors were able to enjoy a Senior Night after all. It was also great to see several of their classmates come out in snowy conditions and support them; I was very touched by that."

Seniors Tea Abraham, McKenzie Blaze, Molly Griffin, Kate Moore, and Margaret Planek started for Fenwick.

"This is one of the most fun wins we've had because everyone played," Moore said. "All five seniors scored on Senior Night. It's awesome."

Blaze added, ""I have so many memories playing here, going back to my freshman year."

The Friars (13-16) put Taft away early by holding the Eagles to one made basket in the opening quarter en route to a 18-3 lead. The stellar defense and steady offensive production by Blaze and Moore - along with a nice unexpected boost provided by Griffin's eight points - continued in the second quarter as Fenwick built a 30-12 lead at halftime.

Fenwick was never seriously threatened in the second half as Taft could come no closer than 14 points. Krystyna Ellew led the Eagles (16-12) with a game-high 16 points and added eight rebounds and three steals.

Blaze and Moore had solid final home games. Moore led Fenwick with a team-high 15 points and Blaze had yet another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"We finally got a win, we needed one," said Blaze of the victory that snapped a five-game losing streak. "We got off to a great start and everyone put their best foot forward. This team has been a great experience for me."

Planek grabbed eight rebounds as all five seniors scored at least two points.

The seniors certainly cherished their finale at Fenwick.

"Just being with my teammates through all the ups and downs has been a great experience for me at Fenwick," said Planek who will attend Penn in the fall. "This gym has played a big part of it."

Of course, the victory was understandably bittersweet for Fenwick's seniors.

"It's sad because this was the last time I'll play on this court," said Moore, "but at least we got a win."

Power thanked his seniors for bringing pride and respectability back to the program after a few down seasons.

"They've taken this program quantum leaps from where it was when they were freshmen," Power said. "They've brought it back to the point where no one wants to play us - win or lose - because we always play hard and never quit,"

In particular, Power praised Blaze and Moore, who have each scored over 1,000 points in their high school careers.

"The Dynamic Duo (Blaze and Moore) have been great captains and leaders," he said. "I've known these girls for a long time. They've dedicated their springs and summers to basketball. They've had wonderful careers and they're going to do great things in life. I'm so proud; I'm going to miss them."

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