Brother Rice coach Bobby Frasor is not afraid to give future opponents a scouting report.
“We’ve always struggled against a zone,” Frasor said. “It slows [Brother Rice senior Marquise] Kennedy down a little bit. That’s been our kryptonite.”
Junior Deandre Hagan’s outside shooting removed the kryptonite so that Kennedy could score 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Crusaders to a 73-67 comeback win against Richards on Tuesday in Oak Lawn.
Hagan made a career-high six three pointers to finish with 20 points. The Bulldogs played a zone defense for nearly all of the first three quarters.
“He opened it up for me,” Kennedy said. “Once he hit those threes and they came out of the zone I knew it was time for me to get into the paint and do what I need to do.”
Kennedy took over almost instantly, getting to the basket for a three-point play to cut Richards’ lead to three.
“It’s amazing the angles and crevices [Kennedy] can find and then explode and get to the basket in one step,” Frasor said. “That’s a big time quarter right there. He does so much for us, makes big shots, big free throws. He makes winning plays.”
Richards’ Trevon Jones (23) snatches a rebound against Brother Rice, Tuesday 02-19-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Kennedy, a Loyola recruit, finished with 34 points. That sets a new single-season scoring record at Brother Rice (21-8). Kennedy has 718 points so far this season. He was 7-for-10 from the field and 18-for-21 from the free-throw line.
“Our stats person has been telling me how close I was after every game,” Kennedy said. “It’s big and I’m happy about it.”
The Bulldogs (17-7) led by six with three minutes left. Hagan and Conor Glennon hit consecutive three-pointers to tie the game and Kennedy scored the final eight points to secure the win.
“That right corner has been [Hagan’s] spot all year,” Frasor said. “That was a huge shot from Glennon. He’s been working on his shot lately and takes it confidently.”
Richards had a chance to tie with six seconds left but Sean Willis’ three-point attempt missed. The Bulldogs were playing without Marquel Porter and KaJuan Wines, two of their best players. Porter was ineligible for the game and Wines is out with an injury.
“They are tough and physical,” Frasor said. “They really did a great job and they are missing two of their top guys. That’s a very dangerous playoff team.”
Senior Trevon Jones led Richards with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Junior Albert Jones added 15 points and eight rebounds and sophomore Anthony Taylor scored 12 points.
“We know [the Jones brothers] very well,” Hagan said. “They are not fun to play against. They are good kids, just intense.”