It has been a difficult season for Fenwick, which lost sophomore Deja Cage before the season started with an ACL injury, then watched Sun-Times All-Area selection Jade Owens go down with a severe ankle injury in mid-November.
But the Friars aren’t feeling sorry for themselves, and Tuesday at Benet, they got 22 points from Maya Garland and 15 points from junior Jenny Mackowiak and forced 23 turnovers in registering their first East Suburban Catholic Conference victory of the season, 63-53.
Garland was 4-of-9 from three-point range and her teammates were 5-of-16. Seven of those total conversions came in the first half.
“We’re definitely starting to play better than when the season began,” Garland said. “We’re coming together. We’re a young team, especially now that we lost Owens who is a senior and a tremendous leader. But the younger girls are starting to get it.”
Fenwick (7-7, 1-2) led 43-41 with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter when sophomore Kiki Sheard sandwiched two baskets around a short jumper in the lane by Garland to extend the lead to 49-41. Jenny Mackowiak’s driving layup early in the fourth pushed the lead to 56-46.
The Friars converted 5-of-6 free throws over the final 1:48 to keep Benet at bay.
“I do feel I have to be more of a leader now that Jade’s out and do more scoring now that Deja’s out,” Garland said. “But when Jade comes back, everybody better watch out, because we’re pretty good now. When she comes back, we’re going to be that much better.”
Jessica Mackowiak added nine points and Sheard and Kelly Canoy each had seven for Fenwick.
Benet (8-4, 0-2) got 17 points from Emily Schramek and eight apiece from Morgan Thomalia and Emily Eshoo.
“The pressure got to us,” Benet coach Peter Paul said. “Everybody was trying to do too much individually and didn’t let the game come to them. They also shot really well, but turnovers were the difference.”