Martinelli, Titans topple Spartans for Wheeling tournament title
In the battle of the Glenbrooks, it was Nick Martinelli who came out as the General.
Martinelli scored 26 points to lead Glenbrook South past district rival Glenbrook North 61-39 in the championship game of the 43rd annual Wheeling Hardwood Classic.
It was the first winter holiday title for Glenbrook South (13-1) in school history.
"Two years ago we were two possessions away against a talented Notre Dame team, and we could not pull that game out," Titans coach Phil Ralston said. "This time we got it done big time. It is significant for our program because we have never won a winter holiday tournament."
Martinelli, who was named the tournament MVP with 94 points in the four games, said his teammates gave him the opportunity to shine.
"We are all linked as one," said Martinelli, who will play for Elon University next year.
"Once the other guys start picking it up, they start feeding me the ball. It all works in unison. When I have runs and I score or Cooper (Noard) scores, people don't look at those people who get us the ball. It is really them that ignites it. I am just the guy who puts the ball in the cup."
Glenbrook North (9-2) had a sneak attack early going well early. Blake Lidskin lobbed three long bombs as North jumped to a 9-4 lead just over two minutes into the game.
That's when Martinelli led the charge for the Titans (13-1). South scored the next 6 points on its way to a 15-2 run and a 19-11 advantage midway into the third quarter. Martinelli scored 8 of those points.
Glenbrook South, whose only loss is to top-ranked and undefeated Glenbard West, continued to attack and led 31-19 the break.
The Spartans were able to cut the lead to 37-27 midway through the third quarter. But a pair of baskets by Cornell-commit Noard (11 points) ignited an 11-3 run to put the game away.
"For our kids, this is new territory," Ralston said. "Last night (Wednesday), we did not play out best but we were still able to win. We just wanted to be a little crisper on how we ran our offense."
Nate Kasher had 6 points for the Titans while Spencer Brown and RJ Davis each had 5 points.
Glenbrook South was led by Lidskin, who had 12 points on 4 3-pointers. Ryan Cohen had 10 points, Patrick Schaller 6 points and Brandon Gordon 5 points.
The teams won't have to wait long for a rematch. They play Friday at Glenbrook North.
"They are a good basketball team," Glenbrook North coach Quin Hayes said. "Martinelli is a tough guard. We tried different things on him and not much worked. I told our guys is that good part is that we get them at home. We get another crack at them and hopefully things turn out differently."
Before tip off, Ken Edwards was honored. Edwards played for Maine West in 1981 and was named tournament MVP of the Hardwood Classic. Maine West lost in 8 overtimes to North Chicago in the championship game that year. It still is the longest high school game in Illinois boys' basketball history.