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Fenwick's Jade Owens drives past Loyola defenders for the layup during their game in Wilmette November 29, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
They call themselves the “Insane Fire Posse.” Their goal? Shoot 40 three-pointers and 40 two-pointers a game. The choreographer of this madness? Five-foot-7 junior guard Jade Owens.
“Sometimes it gets chaotic,” Owens said. “But when it’s running right, it really looks good.”
Owens is the perfect ringleader to run Fenwick coach Dave Power’s unorthodox system, which was still in its infancy last year when 6-foot-1 Meredith Boardman masked a lot of mistakes with her nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
But without Boardman, who’s now at Yale, there’s more pressure on Owens. The posse’s new frontman has responded.
The No. 9 Friars (6-0 heading into Wednesday’s game against Providence) are averaging 80 points per game. Owens is averaging 18.5 points and is shooting 64.2 percent from the field. She also adds 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.
“The system really puts the onus on Jade to push the ball up the floor every possession,” Power said. “We’re constantly pressing, double-teaming the ball, running…it’s non-stop, and what Meredith was able to give us last year we are making up by committee.
“It’s a real team effort this season, but to run this system you have to have real solid point guard play,” he added. “Jade does everything. She rebounds, she’s great at picking off passes, she’s everywhere. She’s our engine. She’s what makes us go.”
Owens worked tirelessly over the summer and during AAU ball to get herself ready for the 2012-2013 season. She lifted weights to get stronger, and she worked on her mid-range jumper to keep defenses honest when attacking the basket.
“I really made gains on my mid-range jumper,” she said. “That’s something I really focused on, so if a team stops me from driving I can pull up and shoot. I also made a lot of gains with my body. I spent a lot of time lifting in the offseason. A lot of people have told me how much bigger I’ve gotten.”
Owens also worked on breaking a few ankles.
“I focused on my moves so I’m able to break down defenders,” she said.
Stronger, quicker and faster are required traits in the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference, which features powerhouses like Marist, Marian Catholic, Benet, Providence and the vastly improved Joliet Catholic.
Fenwick has its share of stronger, quicker and faster players in Owens and backcourt runningmate Maya Garland, forward Maggie Reilly, Boardman’s younger sister Kendall and some talented youngsters off the bench.
“We have some girls up from the sophomore team and a couple of fast freshmen who help us with our defense and speed getting up the floor,” Owens said. “Speed is one thing we really depend on.”
Speed and steady leadership from Owens.
“When the underclassmen come up, the history of the program and who are our rivals are passed down so everybody knows what the expectations are,” Owens said. “Our goals are always the same…win conference and go as far as we can in state.”
And put up those 80 shots every night.