Glenbrook South boys basketball enjoys a perfect start to the season
After a demonstrative win in his basketball team's season opener, Glenbrook South junior Nick Martinelli said he hoped for a season even better than the last.
By volume, that just can't happen. This abbreviated 2021 season offers 19 games on the Titans' schedule, slightly over half last year's total.
By percentage, however, Martinelli's goal looks good.
Glenbrook South improved to 10-0 with Tuesday's 71-49 victory at Deerfield. The Titans average 64.6 points a game, outscoring their foes by more than 20 points per game.
On Feb. 20 the Titans -- led by Martinelli's career-high 34 points -- beat New Trier 60-53 to set the program record for most consecutive home victories, at 18.
There's no way the Titans can match their program-record 29 wins from the 2019-20 campaign, but on Tuesday afternoon Glenbrook South moved up a notch to No. 6 in The Associated Press Class 4A poll.
"It's so hard to make comparisons between the seasons, but obviously through all the trials and tribulations we've had to deal with the kids have done a pretty good job of responding," said Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston.
"Right now we're just focused on trying to take it one day at a time. Tomorrow's not promised, that's the hard part."
He meant that in a COVID sort of way, illustrated by New Trier needing to cancel several of its games including one Feb. 19 at Glenbrook South.
When Martinelli and Titans junior point guard Cooper Noard do hit the floor, though, great things happen.
The 6-foot-7 Martinelli, a wing player or "flex" between guard and forward, averages 23 points, 5.6 rebounds and entering Tuesday had made a whopping 64.9% of his field goal attempts.
For a player who has the ball as much as he does, Martinelli is well ahead of the game in assist-turnover ratio with 26 assists to 18 turnovers.
Matt Rosenberger, the team's third-leading scorer at 7.1 points, has exceeded the vaunted 2-to-1 assists-turnover ratio with 30 and 13. A top defender, the senior guard leads the Titans with 9 steals.
Post player Justin Leszynski, a 6-5 senior, also has 25 assists to 14 turnovers and leads Glenbrook South in rebounds with 56, or 7 a game.
Noard, a 6-foot junior, has been a beast behind the 3-point arc. He averages eight 3-point attempts a game and twice he's made 6 in a game. Averaging 17.6 points, Noard has made 26 3-point baskets on a strong 40.6 shooting percentage beyond the arc. Also unafraid to drive, he's second behind Martinelli in free throws made and attempted.
Add starting senior guard Drew Maytum and off the bench with post Spencer Brown and guards R.J. Davis and Brandon Ballarini and this is a solid, undefeated squad that loses little to nothing when Ralston goes to the bench.
"Cooper and Nick have been fantastic," Ralston said. "They're obviously keyed on in every game, everyone's kind of trying to stop them from scoring. The best part of our team is we do have some other kids who contribute."
This weekend the Titans face Evanston in a key away-and-home series -- Friday at Evanston, Saturday in the Titan Dome.
Central Suburban South foe Evanston just beat Glenbrook North twice in a row and entered the week 7-0. The Wildkits were ranked No. 3 in the AP Class 4A poll to Glenbrook South's No. 6.
"It's nice as an acknowledgment, but I've always said that once they put you there, there's a target on your back and you'd better be ready to defend it," Ralston said.