Sam Ainsworth saw an opportunity and grabbed it.
The 6-foot-5 senior center asserted himself inside and scored a career-high 22 points to power the Fenwick High School boys basketball team to a 62-53 triumph over visiting Gordon Tech in a Chicago Catholic League North Division game Friday night in Oak Park.
Ainsworth connected on 7 of 11 shots from the field and made all 8 of his free throws.
“I knew they had only one big kid so I was really trying to make my presence felt in the post,” he said. “I did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
Fenwick (3-3, 1-2) used a strong inside-outside game. With Ainsworth doing much of the damage inside, junior guard Luke Lattner rang up 20 points on the perimeter.
Gordon Tech (2-5, 0-3) led early at 8-4 before Fenwick went on a 14-2 run to tip the game in its favor for the rest of the night. Lattner scored 6 and Ainsworth had 4 in the spurt. The final 4 points came on putbacks by Jeremy Gruszka and Ainsworth as the Friars pounded the boards.
“The game was won on a sequence when they had seven or eight straight offensive boards,” Rams coach Shay Boyle said. “That was goodnight time.”
The Friars scored 10 points off offensive rebounds in the first half en route to a 33-23 halftime lead.
The home team finished with a 37-21 rebounding advantage. Thomas Planek, a 6-foot-5 sophomore forward, grabbed 11 rebounds and Ainsworth pulled down 9.
"I thought we played with good energy, especially in the first half,” Ainsworth said. “We gave ourselves a cushion. We started turning the ball over in the second half, but we came out with that energy and we kept that edge throughout the whole game, and it was tough for them to come back.”
Fenwick spent most of the second half comfortably protecting a double-digit lead. The Friars led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter before Gordon Tech hit a trio of 3-pointers in the final minutes to close within single digits.
The Rams received 14 points from Mahlike Grahm and 12 from Jerry Davis. Sharpshooter David Andrews finished with 11 on 4-of-13 shooting from the field.
“We had great shots all night,” said Boyle, who saw his team shoot 38 percent (17 of 45) from the field. “We had better shots than I could have imagined. We’ve got the best shooter in Illinois (Andrews) and he went cold for a little while. We got him every possible open look.”
“The kid can definitely shoot,” Ainsworth said of Andrews. “If you don’t get a hand in his face he can be deadly. He was a little off and probably missed some shots that he usually makes, but for the most part I think we got a hand in his face and stuck him pretty good.”
Fenwick shot 41 percent (20 of 49) from the field.
The Friars travel to play Conant tonight.