Fenwick’s pair of Division I recruits have learned to deal with the struggles of a rare losing season for the Friars.
The senior backcourt of Jade Owens (Creighton) and Maya Garland (Alabama-Birmingham) had mixed emotions as the 12th-seeded Friars (11-17) were set to head into the postseason on Monday.
In a 4A Reavis Regional quarterfinal, the Friars defeated 21st-seeded Curie 66-30 and advanced to face fifth-seeded Proviso East at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Reavis.
Owens and Garland have known each for a long time and played together at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest.
“It’s bittersweet, but I’m ready to move on to college basketball. I will miss the coaching staff [at Fenwick],” Garland said. “In my four years [three on varsity], it has been a roller coaster, up and down, but I have learned a lot.”
Garland emerged as Fenwick’s leading scorer this season. She scored a game-high 12 points Saturday against Marian Catholic (22-4) in a 59-41 loss. It was the last home game for Garland and Owens, Fenwick’s only senior starters. Another senior, Selena Mullis, came off the bench in the second quarter.
Owens, a four-year varsity player, scored seven points against Marian Catholic.
She missed half the season with a right ankle injury, but broke out with a season-high 25 points in a 72-66 win over Nazareth Feb. 12. The was the Friars’ third consecutive win, the team’s longest streak of the season. It came after the Friars had lost nine of 10 games to end the month of January.
“It’s my last home game. It’s weird that I will not play on Fenwick’s court anymore,” Owens said. “This was not exactly how I wanted to end my Fenwick career.”
With a completely healthy Owens, the two former middle school teammates are capable of giving upcoming playoff opponents plenty of trouble.
“They give us such a dynamic backcourt of shooting, dribble penetration and taking it to the basket,” Fenwick coach Dave Power said. “They have been real consistent. It’s a backcourt that gives you fits. They play with so much heart. They are not 5-[foot]-11 or 5-10. They fight you tooth and nail every time.”
The Friars have had only two other losing seasons and both came in the first two years of the program. In Fenwick’s first season, the team included only freshmen and sophomore players.
Power, the only coach is school history, isn’t dwelling on the losses.
“Has it been a bad year?” Power said. “No. It’s been a good year outside of our win-loss record.”