Strong showing from Fremd against nationally ranked St. Louis team
Powerhouse girls basketball teams were all over the place at the second annual Chicagoland Invitational Showcase on Saturday at Fremd High School.
The host Vikings flexed their muscles in one of the nine games.
Going up against preseason nationally ranked Incarnate Word Academy, a St. Louis high school team pegged at No. 17 by USA Today, Fremd turned in a 59-47 triumph.
Game MVP Bryana Hopkins scored 21 points and classmate Amanda McCartney connected on 5-of-7 3-point attempts for a career-high 15 points as Fremd improved to 8-0.
Incarnate Word (2-1) is Missouri's three-time defending Class 4 champion (five classes in the state).
"They were really athletic," said McCartney, who had never hit more than three 3-pointers in one game. "It's really good to go against competition like that."
McCartney had a 3-pointer in every quarter, including a pair in the third.
"I felt like every time we'd get close, they'd go on a run," said Red Knights coach Dan Rolfes. "We'd leave a player open and they'd hit a 3-pointer."
McCartney was getting a lot of good looks from long distance.
"I was getting really good passes from my teammates," said the Elmhurst College-bound sharpshooter. "We really worked well as a team. I think it was our best team effort all season."
Rolfes, who graduated Connecticut signee Napheesa Collier, would not have disagreed.
"That's the thing about good teams, they have good balance," he said. "They've got a really good point guard (Brianna Lewis who had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals), good shooters and bigs. They are going to be good."
The Vikes had to be good on Saturday to defeat a team with one of the top-rated freshman in the country (6-foot-3 center Rickie Woltman) and Miami of Ohio recruit Abbey Hoff, a 6-1 guard who was held to 5 points (she averaged 12 last season).
The Red Knights may have received a breakout game from sophomore guard Sonya Morris, who came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points, including 12 of her team's 17 points in the third quarter.
She'd averaged 6 points as a freshman.
"She gave us a nice spark off the bench," Rolfes said. "She is a very talented player but still trying to figure out things."
Hopkins figured into the game immediately, scoring 9 of Fremd's 13 points in the opening period.
She started the second quarter with a nifty lob pass to Grace Tworek, who converted for a layup and 15-10 lead.
Morris hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 15 and then gave her team 17-15 lead on a fastbreak layup.
But Fremd responded with a 12-2 run and led 27-19 at intermission.
Senior Erin Lenahan, who will be playing college basketball (Maryville University) just 20 minutes away from Incarnate Word, hit 4 straight free throws during the rally.
"Erin did a nice job defending No. 35 (Hoff)," said Fremd coach Dave Yates. "Then we switched her over to No. 11 (Morris), and guess what? She (Morris) stopped. Everyone gets so wrapped up in who's scoring the points but it's the defense that makes a real good team."
Fremd never let the Red Knights closer than 5 points in the third quarter.
"She (Morris) kept them in the game by scoring on about five straight possessions," Yates said.
The Vikes showed their depth, as usual, when Yates had just one starter on the floor (Lewis) late in the third quarter. Missy Adrian, Lauren Glaser Haley Williams and Julia Wacker all chipped in.
In addition to her 21 points, Hopkins finished with 4 steals, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
"I thought we had good energy the entire game," said Hopkins, whose future Northwestern coach Joe McKeown was among the many college scouts in the stands. "It was a very exciting atmosphere. We were talking a lot on the floor and feeding off each other.
"All of their players (Incarnate Word) were real solid and they're a really good team. They played really hard."
Yates liked how Hopkins played.
"She was a calming influence on the floor," he said. "When we needed points, she got to the basket, or she got to the foul line. Down the stretch we had a bunch of stops. That was good. That's what we've got to do."
And McCartney did what she has to do -- connect from the outside.
"It was really nice to see her knock down big shots in a big game," Yates said. "She has worked real hard on her shot. It's always nice to see someone like her succeed and to it's nice to see it in such a big game."