Owens shows Fenwick freshmen how it’s done
Fenwick's Jade Owens (1, left) and Marek Burchett (24) dive onto New Trier's Jessica Blackwell (35) during the second quarter at Dundee Crown High School in Carpentersville, Ill., on Wednesday, December 28, 2011. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:03PM
SKOKIE — With two state championships, a runner-up and three third-place finishes since 1999-2000, success defines the Fenwick girls basketball program.
But coming off of a season that saw them lose their most games (10) in 13 seasons, the Friars may find that their supporters lowered their expectations a bit. That’s something that this year’s squad is absolutely fine with.
“Having a little bit of the pressure off is a good thing for this team,’’ said junior Jade Owens, a three-year varsity veteran. “It’s allowing us to learn to play together and jell as a team.’’
One difference this year is that the squad includes a combination of youth and upperclassman leadership. Losing seniors such as Meredith Boardman, now playing at Yale, and Marek Burchett (DePauw) diminished the team’s experience. But upperclassmen such as Owens and Maya Garland have stepped up.
“I show these (freshmen) guys how to run stuff in practice and help them out if they need it,’’ Owens. “I like teaching them. People did it for me when I was a freshman and it helps build a team.’’
Going from playing in eighth grade to the varsity level as a freshman can be tough, something rookie Deja Cage doesn’t disagree with.
“There’s a big difference playing on varsity right after grade school,’’ Cage said during a break in the Niles North tournament last week. “The game is a lot faster and the girls are better and faster. It’s nice having teammates that have been through this before to help me out. I’m not used to playing like this (with sets and plays), I’m used to just going out and playing.
“Tournaments like these allow me and my teammates a chance to get to know each other better on the court and help us prepare for upcoming games. It’s kinda nice not having too much pressure on us too.’’
At the Niles North Tournament, the Friars defeated Wheeling 71-44 and Taft 82-28. Owens led the team with 17 points in the opener and 21 against Taft.
The team next defeated Niles North 77-36 behind Owens’ 14 points, pounded on Resurrection 86-64 with Owens scoring 18, and clinched the championship by rolling past Antioch 90-45.