Blumenfeld powers Glenbrook North over Maine East for tourney title
Brooke Blumenfeld missed her junior season because of a knee injury.
But the Northern Illinois recruit was hardly missing from the first tournament of her final season.
The senior power forward scored a game-high 20 points to help Glenbrook North to a 50-36 win over Maine East in the Blue Demons' own Thanksgiving tournament championship game on Tuesday night in Park Ridge.
"It felt amazing to come back to the same place where we were in the championship game two years ago (lost to McHenry) and win this time," Blumenfeld said. "And it's all because of my team. I think this is the best we've had in my four years here."
It's also one of Maine East's best in a while.
"Oh my gosh, Maine East (3-1) is fantastic," said GBN coach Nick Capalbo. "Kudos to them. No. 35 (Emina Hanic) is fantastic and their guard, No. 12, (Mahimi Chokshi) is unbelievable. We game-planned for them and our girls did a great job.
"Brooke had one of the best games I've ever seen from her. She was dominant in the first half (14 of her team's 28 points."
Chokshi led the hosts with 14 points, including three 3-pointers in the third quarter. Hanic finished with 7 points, followed by Mariah Scott (6) and Bella Cabrales (5).
"I was impressed with our defense," said Maine East coach Nicole Rinaldi. "Unfortunately, their shots fell and ours didn't. "We had a much better second half (trailed 28-13 at the break) but we need to play all four quarters."
After both teams struggled from the floor in the first seven minutes, Glenbrook North finally started to click in the final minute of the first quarter.
A 6-footer by Abby Burnham and 12-footer in the lane by Blumenfeld gave the Spartans a 9-4 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Blue Demons were limited to 2 free throws by Hanic and a 3-pointer by Michelle Piro in the first quarter.
The Spartans made a big run in the second period, outscoring Maine East, 19-8. Cabrales' 3-pointer got the Blue Demons to within 13-7.
But GBN went on a 9-2 run, getting a fastbreak layup, 12-footer and free throw from Blumenfeld, a 15-footer from Sarah Ryan and a nifty running 10-foot floater from freshman Alexis Meyers (12 points) for a 22-9 advantage. The Spartans led 28-13 at intermission.
Blumenfeld's 6-foot fadeaway gave GBN a 36-22 lead in the third quarter.
But Maine East went on a 7-0 run to end the period, getting a fastbreak layup by Scott, a 3-pointer and 2 free throws by Chokshi, to close to within 36-29.
After Burnham hit a 3-pointer to begin the fourth quarter, Maine East never got inside double digits the rest of the way.
"We got in foul trouble (Hanic and Chokshi finished with four each)," Rinaldi added. "Our kids deserved to be in this championship game. They worked hard to get here. I'm excited for the season. This was a true test to see what we could do, and we competed with GBN. I'm excited to start the conference season."
"It was a great win for us," said Capalbo, whose team is 4-0. "I think we were a little nervous at the start playing in a championship game but they relaxed and started to knock down some shots."