Bryce Hopkins dominates in Fenwick’s victory over Mundelein

Bryce Hopkins scored 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the No. 13 Friars to a 60-51 win against No. 3 Mundelein.

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Fenwick’s Bryce Hopkins (23) drives down the lane as the Friars play Mundelein.

Fenwick’s Bryce Hopkins (23) drives down the lane as the Friars play Mundelein.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

It can be hard to fully appreciate how good Fenwick senior Bryce Hopkins is when he’s playing an average high school team.

Mundelein is not an average team, and this matchup catapulted Hopkins’ heroics to a new level.

The 6-7 Kentucky recruit spent a large majority of the game playing point guard for the Friars. He handled the ball, ran the offense and created for his teammates. He also scored in the post and guarded 6-9 SIU recruit Scottie Ebube.

That’s a remarkable feat for a high school player to pull off. Hopkins scored 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the No. 13 Friars to a 60-51 victory against No. 3 Mundelein in the quarterfinals of the Chipotle Clash of Champions on Friday at St. Patrick.

“Bryce is underrated defensively,” Fenwick coach Staunton Peck said. “Even though he has guard skills and shoots threes and gets to the rim, he is 6-7 and 250 pounds and can defend on the inside.

“He single-handedly wins many games for us. He makes his teammates better. Even the last three games, his leadership and demeanor and body language have been totally different. He’s a great kid from a great family. He’s the heart and soul of our team.”

Mundelein was fighting an uphill battle from the start. Conor Enright, the Mustangs’ star guard who’s heading to Drake, was out with an injured ankle. And then Ebube picked up two fouls in the first couple of minutes.

“That changed the whole game,” Hopkins said. “They were already missing a lot without Conor, who is kind of the heart and energy guy on their team. But losing Scottie’s presence down low and his rebounding ability helped us out, too.”

All of a sudden, Mundelein coach Matt Badgley was without both of his D-I players.

“We were in the fight for the whole game,” Badgley said. “That last two minutes, we kinda got pushed up. Scottie getting in early foul trouble took our high-level kid out of the game. That was very difficult for us, but we battled through.”

Ebube finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Jack Bikus scored 13 points and Trey Baker added 11 for the Mustangs (13-2).

Mundelein led by two at half. Junior Denium Juette gave the Friars (13-2) a massive lift at the start of the third quarter, scoring nine consecutive points. He finished with 18.

The Friars will face DePaul Prep in the semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Notre Dame. Fenwick beat the Rams 66-56 on March 5 in Oak Park.

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