From the student sections to the last man on the bench, there is never any love lost when Fenwick and Oak Park and River Forest high schools spar every year at the Chicago Elite Classic. The East Avenue foes went head to head on Dec. 6 at Wintrust Arena where the Friars pulled out a 58-48 victory over the Huskies.
Fenwick sophomore Trey Pettigrew (22 points, 9-18 FG) and junior Bryce Hopkins (17 points, 5-16 FG) led the way for Friars. OPRF’s Justin Cross had an efficient night (13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists) while Kyren Gardner supplied 14 points and three steals in 25 minutes of work (full stats can be found at the bottom of the article).
“We knew they were going to come and play us tough knowing what we did to them last year,” said Hopkins of the 66-65 overtime win versus OPRF last year. “We just had to stick to the game plan and get the W. It’s always great beating them.”
The Huskies struggled to score throughout the night partly due to their No. 1 scoring threat, Isaiah Barnes (12 points, 4-15 FG), racking up three fouls in the first quarter (he played 13 minutes total due to foul trouble).
“There are going to be games where you don’t get calls or the refs give you random, crazy calls, but you have to play through it,” said Barnes. “I just wanted to win at that point and thought that whenever I went back in that I was going to do my best to get this team back in the game, and we fell a little bit short.”
Fenwick came out of the gate on a 14-4 run and capitalized on OPRF’s offensive struggles on the night. The Huskies went 2-for-13 from the field in the first quarter and couldn’t find open space in their half court sets.
Heading into the second quarter, OPRF starting using a full-court press and forced the Friars to turn the ball over (Fenwick had 21 turnovers on the night). The Huskies pulled within five points after Gardner absorbed contact inside the paint and finished to lessen the deficit to 18-13.
However, that would be the closest the Huskies would get to a comeback. After Gardner’s layup, Fenwick responded with seven unanswered points to give the Friars a 26-13 lead heading into the half.
OPRF’s 13 points in the first half were a season-low. In their first four games, the Huskies were averaging 83.8 points per game and shooting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. The team went 1-15 from 3-point range against Fenwick.
Pettigrew credited head coach Thomas Peck’s game plan of taking out Barnes for the Friars being able to stifle OPRF’s offense.
“If you put a hand in [Isaiah Barnes’] face, he struggles a little bit and it forces other players on his team to step up,” said Pettigrew. “I think they didn’t do the best job of that tonight which helped us get the win.”
The Huskies continued to press full court which stalled the Friars’ offense. Cross had six consecutive points in the last 90 seconds of the quarter to put OPRF in striking range at 35-29. However, the Huskies’ momentum was wiped out when Hopkins collected Pettigrew’s miss from mid-range and completed an and-one inside at the end of the quarter to give his team a 38-29 lead.
Fenwick didn’t look back after it started to pick apart the Huskies’ full court press and quickly moved the ball up court to evade the defense from forcing more turnovers.
“We knew we were going to get pressed since we had gone over their scouting report,” said Hopkins. “We just had to go in a 2-1-2 to break the pressure and we fed off of that.”
Midway through the fourth, Barnes hit three of four free throws to make it 42-34. Pettigrew responded by hitting a transition three after Hopkins broke the press and found his teammate on the perimeter. Pettigrew sealed the game after he tipped the ball away from Cross and threw down a one-handed slam.
The Huskies ended up going 7-14 from the field in the last quarter but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback against their rivals. Now standing at 2-4 on the season, Barnes believes the team has something to prove after the Chicago Sun-Times had OPRF ranked as the 15th best team in the state before the season.
“Personally, I didn’t like the ranking,” said Barnes. “I thought we needed to play first and [the Sun-Times] just gave [the ranking] to us. I didn’t like it because we didn’t prove anything and we have a whole new team. So many guys left, and we need to keep working because by January, trust me, we will be a completely different team.”
The Huskies will try to bounce back against Hinsdale Central on Dec. 13 on the road. Fenwick (5-1) is slated to face Providence St. Mel on Dec. 13 at home.
OPRF Stats vs. Fenwick
Isaiah Barnes: 12 points, 4-15 (FG-FGA), 1-6 ( 3P-3PA), 3-4 (FT-FTA), 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 TO, 13 min.
Kyren Gardner: 14 points, 7-9 (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 TO, 3 steals, 25 min.
Demetrius Dortch: 2 points, 1-3 (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 TO, 1 steal, 27 min.
Justin Cross: 13 points, 5-8 (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 3-5 (FT-FTA), 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 TO, 3 blocks, 32 min.
Josh Smith: 7 points, 2-13 (FG-FGA), 0-8 (3P-3PA), 3-7 (FT-FTA), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 7 TO, 3 steals, 32 min.
Coleman Anthony: 0 points (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 TO, 1 steal, 1 min.
Julian Payton: 0 points (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 1 rebound, 0 assists, 0 TO, 4 min.
Eric Locke Jr.: 0 points (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 1 rebound, 0 assists, 0 TO, 5 min.
Rashaad Trice: 0-2 (FG-FGA), 0-1 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (Ft-FTA), 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 TO, 14 min.
Tyler Bracey: 0-0 (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 TO, 7 min.
Fenwick Stats vs. OPRF
Trey Pettigrew: 22 points, 9-18 (FG-FGA), 2-3 (3P-3PA), 2-4 (FT-FTA), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 6 TO, 1 block, 3 steals, 28 min.
Sean Walsh: 4 points, 2-4 (FG-FGA), 0-2 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 1 rebound, 0 assists, 1 TO, 1 steal, 21 min.
Cal Malcow: 0 points, 0-0 (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 TO, 1 steal, 29 min.
Max Reese: 2 points, 1-3 (FG-FGA), 0-0 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 TO, 1 block, 14 min.
Bryce Hopkins: 17 points, 5-16 (FG-FGA), 0-2 (3P-3PA), 7-9 (FT-FTA), 10 rebounds, 0 assists, 4 TO, 1 block, 1 steal, 31 min.
Eian Pugh: 2 points, 1-4 (FG-FGA), 0-1 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 TO, 11 min.
Gabe Madej: 9 points, 3-5 (FG-FGA), 3-5 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 TO, 18 min.
David Gieser: 2 points, 1-2 (FG-FGA), 0-1 (3P-3PA), 0-0 (FT-FTA), 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 TO, 8 min.