Chipotle Clash of Champions Game Recap


Sana Muneer, Editor in Chief

    The top-ranked Glenbard West Hilltoppers boys varsity basketball team has been the talk of our town this season. With an unprecedented, undefeated record and multiple senior players committed to playing on prestigious Division 1 college basketball teams, they have made an impressive name for themselves locally and within the state of Illinois.  

This spotlight only grew brighter when it was announced on January 24, 2022, that the Class 4A No 1 ranked Hilltoppers would face the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers, a nationally-ranked famous California school, on February 5 at Wintrust Arena.

Sierra Canyon is not just any California Varsity basketball team. Their roster is headlined by powerhouse superstars  Bronny James, a junior and son of esteemed NBA player LeBron James, and UCLA-bound Amari Bailey, a McDonald’s All-American player and Chicago native who is considered the No. 2  high school basketball player in the country. For Bailey, returning to his hometown of Chicago where his basketball journey began was a sentimental homecoming.


Glenbard West’s Season So Far

    Glenbard West has had an incredible undefeated season so far, reigning a 26-0 winning streak. They hold a first-place ranking in Illinois and an extraordinary No. 10 national rank.  Sierra Canyon enters with a 20-3 record and a comparable but lesser No. 13 national ranking.  The Hilltoppers team is filled with Division 1 recruits who will be playing high-level collegiate basketball after graduation. 

Led by Braden Huff, a 6’10 Gonzaga recruit, Cade Pierce, a 6’5 guard committed to Princeton’s basketball program, Bobby Durkin, a 6’5 primary scorer, Ryan Renfro, a 6’8 forward recruited by Army West Point basketball, and Paxton Warden, a 6’4 guard, the Hilltoppers’ starting lineup is unmatched in skill, strength, and size.    

The Game

Excited Chicago fans quickly sold out the Chipotle Clash of Champions event in record time, with all 10,000+ seats scooped up in under ten minutes. It was the hottest ticket in town! Fans left ticketless were still able to watch the game on television at home on ESPN+.

Hilltoppers came out in huge numbers, filling Wintrust Arena to the brim with a sea of Glenbard green. Superstar Chicago Bulls players Demar DeRozan and Javonte Green surprised fans by attending the game, seated courtside. However, those hoping to catch a glimpse of Lebron James cheering on son Bronny were left disappointed.  His Lakers team was playing the Knicks in Los Angeles at the same time.  

Glenbard fans let the Sierra Canyon celebrities know that they were ready to flex their home-court advantage, rowdily chanting ‘‘Drake’s your daddy,’’ to Amari Bailey, whose model mother infamously dated the famous rapper in 2021. 


Although this was Glenbard West’s first appearance in an arena of this magnitude, they did not show it. The game was a terrific close showdown, with the stadium erupting after every single point scored by the Hilltoppers. The atmosphere was electric with West’s student fan section screaming their lungs out.  It was mind-blowing to witness this was only a high school game and not one played by professional athletes. At halftime, the score was 35-32, with Sierra Canyon narrowly leading.

The Hilltoppers struggled during parts of the third quarter, down by 12 at one point. But, they persevered and rallied to come back and tie the game late in the fourth quarter.  In the final seconds of the game, with the score tied 64-64 and the thundering crowd on its feet, Bailey passed the ball to teammate Dylan Metoyer, instead of taking the shot himself. Metoyer’s three-point shot was perfect, boosting the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers to a 67-64 buzzer-beater victory. Glenbard West fans were left silenced by the shocking sudden loss.

All in all, Braden Huff led the team with 13 points, Bobby Durkin with 12, and Caden Pierce with 11. Meanwhile, Amari Bailey led the Trailblazers with 19 points, including two from a slam dunk. Bronny James hit 6 three-pointers, to finish with 18 points. 

After the game, Amari Bailey and Bronny James approached the Glenbard West student section and applauded. 

Bailey said, “Much respect to all the Glenbard West fans for giving me a good time when I came back home… I appreciate them…. I have the utmost respect for Glenbard West. Braden showed out. He’s a hell of a player. I can’t wait to play him when we are in college.”

Our historic hometown team has every reason to hold their heads high despite the difficult loss. No one will ever forget this incredible matchup for some time to come and how the Hilltoppers and their passionate fans united the Glen Ellyn community for such a  magical night. 

The focus will now be on the upcoming state playoff tournament and their goal to win the coveted state championship title, for which they are favorites. We wish them the best of luck!