Rolling Meadows falls to Hopkins, Fenwick
It was a matchup of two of the country's top juniors Saturday night at Glenbard East's When Sides Collide Shootout -- Rolling Meadows' Max Christie and Fenwick's Bryce Hopkins.
Both players put on all-star performances before a packed house that included Purdue coach Matt Painter and Northwestern coach Chris Collins.
Hopkins' spurt in the last three minutes had him finish with 37 points and 14 rebounds. Christie scored 30 points, pulled down 8 rebounds and blocked 5 shots. Christie also surpassed the 1,500-point mark in his high school career for the Mustangs.
Fenwick pulled away in the last five minutes to score a 69-56 win.
Both players, teammates two years ago on an AAU team, acknowledged it was not about them going at each other.
"I wasn't trying to outplay him," said Christie. "My goal was to just try to win the game. I've known him going back to sixth or seventh grade. Even back then he was a big dude."
"I looked forward to playing against him this year," said the 6-foot 6 Hopkins of Christie. "It was fun when we played on the same AAU team. We gave people the matchup that they wanted to see. I know what I can do as a player and he knows what he can do as a player. I tried to do the best I could to get the W."
"It was a huge game for us," said Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich. "Going into the game, we didn't want it to be Max versus Hopkins. It was us against them. We haven't played in this type of environment before and against a team like Fenwick."
Rolling Meadows (13-6) came out firing 3-pointers to start the game. The Mustangs hit 5 long range shots in building a 19-8 lead with 1:15 left in the first quarter.
But, momentum changed with less than a minute to go in the quarter.
The Friars' Sam Walsh scored off a steal, sophomore Trey Pettigrew converted on a turnover as did Hopkins. The Mustangs led 19-14 but the Friars (18-4) turned the tide.
"That and a surge in the fourth quarter by them were two big turning points," said Katovich.
"We didn't come out as aggressive as we usually do," said Fenwick coach Staunton Peck. "They were hitting the 3s in the first quarter. We couldn't let them keep doing that. We had to pressure the ball and Pettigrew started doing that."
Leading 36-30 at halftime Fenwick used a 10-2 run keyed by 6 points from Hopkins and 4 from Pettigrew, who scored 20 points, to lead 46-32 with 3:30 left in the quarter. Christie scored 6 points to cut the lead to 48-38 at quarter's end.
Christie led a 9-2 surge to bring the Mustangs to within 50-47 on a 3-pointer with 5:12 left in the game.
Max Reese converted an offensive rebound for Fenwick and he followed that with a layup off a Mustang turnover.
"We cut the lead to 50-47 but then we had some defensive lapses," said Katovich.
The Friars used the spurt to put together a 14-0 run giving Fenwick a 61-47 lead with 2 minutes left in the game. Hopkins scored 8 points in the run.
"It was a big game for us as a team," said Christie. "Fenwick is a great team and it was good for us to hang in there with them. It was a good showing by us."
Jonah Ogunsonya played a strong game on defense and pumped in 14 points for Rolling Meadows.