By James Kay
The Fenwick High School boys basketball team participated in the annual Proviso West Holiday tournament from Dec. 26-29, playing Larkin, Uplift, Morton and Zion-Benton high schools and taking home third place honors.
Fenwick's Bryce Hopkins showcased why he is considered one of the best collegiate prospects in the country during his four days at Proviso West. He averaged 28.8 points per game, 13.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2 blocks. He finished the tournament with a 44-point effort against Zion-Benton and a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send Fenwick into the New Year on a high note.
Here is a day-by-day overview of how the tournament went down at Proviso West.
Day one: Fenwick beats Larkin 69-56
The Friars took down the Royals by getting out on the break early. Fenwick outscored Larkin 21-9 in the first quarter as Hopkins scored the first 11 points for the Friars. He finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and one block (he's averaging 23.4 points per game in his last five games). His teammate Max Reese rounded out his night with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Fenwick controlled the momentum for most of the contest outside of one Larkin run in the second quarter that put the Royals within striking distance at 36-30. However, the Friars responded with threes from Cal Malchow and Eian Pugh (Hopkins assisted on both shots) to put Fenwick up 44-32. Two transition dunks later from Hopkins and the Friars never looked back.
Day two: Friars take down Uplift 64-55
Coming off a 69-56 win over Larkin High School, Fenwick took care of business in the second round of the Proviso West Holiday Tournament against Uplift High School.
Both teams struggled to generate offense in the first eight minutes of the game until the Friars used a 14-4 run in the second quarter to distance themselves from the Titans. Up 23-15 entering the second half, Hopkins and Reese collectively scored 10 points in the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter to give the Friars a 31-15 cushion (they finished the quarter with a 40-28 lead).
The Titans' full court press in the fourth quarter helped shrink Fenwick's 18-point lead to six points after Uplift's Taijay Brown hit a layup in traffic. However, Hopkins scored five points in the last 55 seconds of the game to lift the Friars past the Titans.
"The pressure shouldn't really affect us since we practice too much on press breaks and being strong with the ball," said Friars' sophomore guard Trey Pettigrew. "So that is something we have to clean up but other than that we just tried to get the ball up as quick as we could, and it work out for us."
Hopkins finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 blocks, and 3 steals. Reese ended his night with 18 points (9-of-11 from the field), 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
After a rough outing against Larkin on Dec. 26, Pettigrew bounced back and 12 points, 6 assists and 3 steals.
Day three: Morton wins in final second vs Friars
The Friars took a 10-point lead in the first quarter against the Mustangs before Morton started to chip away at its deficit. In the last five minutes of the game, both teams couldn't stretch their lead beyond two points.
With 45 seconds left on the clock, Max Reese stole the ball from Morton and gave the ball to Pettigrew who found Eian Pugh in transition. He was fouled and made one of two free throws to give the Friars a 63-61 lead.
Morton drained 25 seconds off the clock before finding Trenten Nadolski underneath the basket. He went up for a layup and was fouled by Pettigrew, who was trying to recover the Friars' broken coverage with 0.9 seconds left in the game. Nadolski completed the three-point play and the Friars lost 64-63.
Assistant coach Titcus Pettigrew said after the game that Trey stood in front of the team and apologized for the foul and that, "[Trey] will learn from this experience. This is a part of the game and you need to have a short memory in sports."
Hopkins finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists while Pettigrew had 14 points, 2 assists and 3 steals and set the tone on offense and defense.
Day four: Hopkins' buzz-beater sinks Zion-Benton
Going into the season, Fenwick basketball had an idea about what the tandem of Pettigrew and Hopkins could look like if they touched their ceilings as young prospects. Against Zion-Benton, the Friars' duo showed everyone in the state why they should be terrified of Fenwick come playoff time.
Hopkins poured in 44 points (16-of-22 shooting) to go along with 15 rebounds while Pettigrew put up 19 points (8-of-12).
The Friars held an 8-point lead with 4:14 left in the game before Zion-Benton came back to tie the game. With 12.9 seconds left in the game, Peck put the game in the hands of his star.
Hopkins took the ball up court, dribbled behind his back to shake off his defender, found some room at the top of the key and buried a three to win the game.
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