Titans win program's first boys basketball sectional title
Glenbrook South boys basketball records go back to the school's 1962 opening. Since then the Titans had never won a sectional championship.
Until last Friday.
No. 1 seed Glenbrook South defeated No. 2 New Trier 55-52 at the Class 4A Glenbrook South sectional final in Glenview, in front of about 2,850 people who packed the stands and spilled onto open areas of the floor between the bleachers.
Glenbrook South advanced to Monday's Forest View Educational Center supersectional against Barrington, which beat Libertyville 56-47 in another sectional final featuring Nos. 1-2 seeds on the top seed's home court. The Titans lost in an upset to Barrington, 52-50, but they didn't make it easy: The game was razor-close, even tied at times, as the clock ran out.
"We're going to enjoy this one against a great New Trier program that I've played my entire high school career," said Glenbrook South senior guard Cooper Noard, whose 27 points led all scorers.
"Those are the guys that we've beaten and we've lost to. It's been an honor to battle with those guys. To beat them on our home floor in a sectional final in front of our home crowd was one of the greatest moments of my life," Noard said.
Glenbrook South (33-2) both beat and lost to the 30-4 Trevians this season in the Central Suburban League South.
Friday's most important meeting began at New Trier's tempo. Dartmouth-bound post player Jackson Munro's 10 first-half points paced New Trier's 22-20 halftime lead.
Trevians coach Scott Fricke thought New Trier (30-4) was in fine shape against high-scoring Glenbrook South.
"This team, that puts up 75 a game? I thought our defense was good," said Fricke.
Trailing by only 2 points, Glenbrook South obviously was right there. Titans coach Phil Ralston didn't like his team's first-half play -- the 7 first-half turnovers with a couple that botched transition opportunities, one of the Titans' specialties.
Ralston sought a fast start to the second half.
"I think our kids tightened the ship up a little bit in the third quarter early," he said.
"I ran a play that was either going to be for Nick (Martinelli, 12 points) or Cooper. We told them you have to score, first play. (Noard) hit that 3; we didn't look back," Ralston said.
Out of the game Noard swished a 26-footer. Teammate Rodell "R.J." Davis hit a pair of 3s and a deuce in the third quarter, after not taking a first-half shot, to lift the Titans to a 37-33 lead after three quarters.
"I didn't think I had any good looks in the first half, but when it came to me in the second half I was ready to shoot my shot," said Davis, who finished with 9 points.
"You've just got to stay ready when you play with a couple guys like Nick and Cooper."
Noard's fifth 3 of the game opened a 45-37 Titans lead with 3:01 left to play.
New Trier senior Josh Kirkpatrick entered desperation mode to score his team's final 15 points, but Glenbrook South hit 10 of 15 free throws in the last 2:08.
When Karlo Colak's running, 27-foot attempt to tie hit first the front of the rim then the bracket, and bounced off, Glenbrook South had its elusive sectional title.
"I don't think there was a dull moment in this game. I'd say this goes down in the annals of one of the best games I've ever been a part of," said Ralston, who led Geneva to fourth place in Class 4A in 2015.
Fricke called his squad the best in New Trier history, at least his history.
"I've been around since 1995, and we've had some really good teams, the (Matt) Lottich years," Fricke said. "But this team, we had the pieces. We had the point guard, the shooters, the post presence, the toughness. And no one's won 30 wins in history."
His players filtered out of their locker room sadly.
"I think our team really played just amazing and together," Kirkpatrick said. "In order to beat us, GBS had to rip our heart out, and if lose to anybody, I hope I lose to some state champs.
"They deserve it, but it sucks that our season has to end. All you can think about as a player is I wish it just never ended, but it is what it is. All good things come to an end. Fun season, great game," Kirkpatrick said.