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Fenwick guard Jade Owens was an island of calm in a sea of chaos Saturday.
With her team engaged in a whirlwind battle of up-tempo offenses and pressure defense, Owens somehow kept her eye on the prize and guided the Friars to a 76-72 victory over Evanston and third place in the 30th annual Dundee-Crown Charger Classic.
Fenwick (13-2) only trailed after the opening possession, but the contest was filled with so many turnovers and missed shots that no lead was safe. But when the ball was in Owens’ hands, the Friars maintained control. The junior finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, eight steals and six assists.
“I actually had no idea what those numbers were,” Owens said. “I didn’t think it was one of my best games at all. I was actually kind of down on myself.”
Perhaps that was because she missed 9 of 10 shots at one point, part of Fenwick’s larger shooting woes that saw the Friars go 12-for-44 from the floor in the first half and lead just 35-30 despite forcing 21 Evanston turnovers.
But the Friars settled down in the third quarter, building a 16-point lead, and Fenwick coach Dave Power ditched his usual rotation and left Owens in with the other starters for the entire fourth quarter.
“We fudged the rotation in the fourth quarter,” Power said. “We had gotten everyone in and I felt well, let’s go for the win. We know they were shorthanded one girl, but beating Evanston is an accomplishment, especially playing that style of ball.”
Owens was not surprised the Friars were able to do it.
“I definitely think we were in control of things going into the fourth,” Owens said. “I just knew that as long as we kept control of everything that we were going to win the game.
“Everyone talked and we know what we need to do. Everyone was just telling each other to calm down, take your time in order to save the game, basically.”
The Wildkits (15-2), who were playing their third straight game without star center Alecia Cooley, rallied in the final period behind guards Dashae Shumate and Seara Clayborn, cutting the gap to 68-63 on a Shumate free throw with 3:17 left, but Deja Cage answered with a three-pointer for Fenwick and Evanston never threatened after that, with a Sierra Clayborn trey at the buzzer capping the scoring.
“It’s disappointing that we’re not playing in the championship,” Owens said. “But it’s good that we were still able to come out and keep control and win the game and not just throw it away.”
Owens was a big reason why.
“I thought with her legs dead she still executed some very nice drives for some big buckets and kept us in it,” Power said. “And she did it playing 60 percent of the game.”
Fenwick placed five players in double figures, with Eva Brundage scoring 12 of her 13 points in the first half. Jenny Mackowiak added 11 points and Cage and Maya Garland each had 10 points.
Shumate led Evanston with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Seara Clayborn had 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals and Erin Boothe chipped in 10 points and six boards.