Remember these Titans: Glenbrook South hoops team finishes season 33-3

  • Glenbrook South's Nick Martinelli (33) takes a shot over Barrington's Nate Boldt during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.

      Glenbrook South's Nick Martinelli (33) takes a shot over Barrington's Nate Boldt during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbrook South head coach Phil Ralston agrees with the referee that possession of the ball goes to his team during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional against Barrington at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.

      Glenbrook South head coach Phil Ralston agrees with the referee that possession of the ball goes to his team during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional against Barrington at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • The Glenbrook South bench erupts after a 3-point basket by Rodell Davis Jr. (15) during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional against Barrington at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.

      The Glenbrook South bench erupts after a 3-point basket by Rodell Davis Jr. (15) during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional against Barrington at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbrook South's Cooper Noard (11) drive past Barrington's Nick Bordenet during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.

      Glenbrook South's Cooper Noard (11) drive past Barrington's Nick Bordenet during Monday's Class 4A boys basketball supersectional at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/10/2022 9:36 AM

Two comments stood out after Glenbrook South beat first Evanston and then New Trier to win the first sectional championship in Titans boys basketball history.

"It's that genuine bond that we have with each other that's taking us where we've been this season," swingman Nick Martinelli said after the sectional opener.

 

"It's been an honor to battle with those guys," point guard Cooper Noard said of New Trier's players after Glenbrook South beat the Trevians 55-52 on March 4.

"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," he said.

Glenbrook South's players respected not only each other but their foes on the way to a landmark season that ended in Monday's 52-50 Class 4A supersectional loss to Barrington in Arlington Heights.

Fifth-year Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston's 33-3 crew eclipsed the 29-5 mark set by his 2019-20 team, led by Martinelli's older brother, Dominic.

Dom and Nick are the Nos. 1-3 leading all-time scorers in Glenbrook South boys basketball history, respectively. Noard, the program's leader in 3-point baskets with 235, sits 57 points behind Nick Martinelli in fourth place among Titans career scorers.

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Confronted by seniors Noard and Martinelli playing their 81st and 86th varsity games, on a Titan Dome court whose shooting background consists of student cheering sections behind the baselines and little else to provide perspective, Evanston coach Mike Ellis almost shrugged his shoulders while describing the difficulty of contending with those two "all-staters."

"It's their last chance," Ellis said.

Yet there's a reason why, despite averaging less than 5 points, Glenbrook South senior forward Spencer Brown earned all-conference honors in the Central Suburban League South Division along with college recruits Martinelli (Elon) and Noard (Cornell) and junior guard Rodell "R.J." Davis, who killed teams on 3-pointers from the wing.

The 6-foot-4 Brown -- in a senior class that also included Brandon Ballarini, Logan Lito, Charlie Mihelic and Mason Adams, whose huge dunk capped the Evanston game -- was one of those "glue guys" coaches talk about.

Smart, well-positioned, these players do things not seen in statistics, but in Brown's case they also registered there. He led the Titans in steals and assists, recording almost a 3-to-1 ratio of assists to turnovers for a team that overall was nearly 2-to-1 in the black.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That's a winning recipe, a main ingredient in Glenbrook South's Central Suburban League South championship and high-profile wins over Chicago Public League stalwarts Morgan Park, Curie and Simeon, the latter still vying for a title in Class 3A.

That trio of wins launched the Titans into "uncharted territory," said Ralston, who won his 400th game along the way.

The journey over, he'll look to reload behind Davis, guard Gaven Marr -- who started in all 31 games he played -- and other returners such as Nate Kasher, Nick Taylor and Griffin Dahiya.

It'll sting for a while, Ralston said after Barrington ended Glenbrook South's season and the trip to the 4A finals in Champaign everyone but probably Barrington itself anticipated.

These things do. Eventually, like Martinelli and Noard said, what will remain will be memories of the bond, the honor, and some of the greatest moments of their lives.

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