Glenbrook South dumps Maine West
Glenbrook South's all-time leading scorer Dom Martinelli said the Titans always try to give their best punch early.
The No. 2-seeded boys basketball team from Glenview did exactly that and punched their ticket to a Class 4A sectional for the second straight year.
Martinelli, who has 2,027 career points, scored 17 of his game-high 23 in the second half as the Titans topped No. 10 Maine West 65-49 in the Warriors' Class 4A regional championship on Friday night in Des Plaines.
The Titans (29-4) will face Evanston (28-4) in the second semifinal of the Elk Grove sectional (7:30 p.m.) on Tuesday night.
"We had a lot of guys step up," Martinelli said. "One guy can't do it, especially in a regional final. We came out firing like we always do."
West (13-17) came out firing, too.
However, the Warriors could not get as many shots to fall (2-of-30 from the floor) and found themselves behind 27-6 at half and trailing 9-2 after one quarter.
"Defensively, I'm sure we held them to a season low in the first half," said Maine West coach Tom Prokopij. "And they were continually getting defensive rebounds and that's good for transition offense but we battled on defense."
Maine West's only basket in the first eight minutes was a putback by Sean Collins that made it 7-2 with 2:31 left.
The Warriors' only other basket in the first 16 minutes was a 3-pointer by Jared Pearson (team-high 21 points) with 7:43 left.
"We were prepared and looking forward to the task at hand," Prokopij said. "If we make just a couple of baskets that went in and out then this is a completely different game.
"Unfortunately we shot 2 of 30. And we had great looks after great looks. We had 8 offensive rebounds but we were missing putbacks and open looks that wouldn't drop."
The Titans pulled away in the second quarter when they outscored the Warriors 18-4, getting big 3-pointers from Cooper Noard and Matthew Rosenberger along the way.
"We just didn't shoot well collectively as a team in the first half," said Warriors senior Jacob Riedl, who scored 6 points. "And they were making most of their shots. We got down too far and couldn't come back."
Senior Dan Kentgen, who quarterbacked the Warriors' football team to an 8-2 record last fall, chipped in 9 points in his final basketball game.
"I can't remember a game where we got that many good looks and couldn't hit our shots," he said. "That's what caused us to get behind."
"We played a lot of top teams and we were in a lot of those games which is crazy. We never really got blown out all season until this game I guess. We were in every game and that's a credit to our coaches and the rest of my teammates. We just kept fighting every game."
Prokopij called Kentgen an 'incredible leader'.
"That's why he was quarterback for our successful football team and that's why he is the quarterback of our defense. He's a leader."
Next year, Pearson will fill that role.
"Jared is going to be a great leader next year," the coach said "And when your hardest worker on your team is your best player, that's something you can build a program around so it's great that we have him coming back next year."
Prokopij said Friday's game was not indicative of the Warriors' season.
"This game does not represent the type of young men these guys are," he said. "When you look at our entire season and see how they weathered all the ups and downs and trials and tribulations, that just tells you what kind of kind of men they're going to be throughout life.
"All the seniors (Lucas Glaister, Sean Collins, Kentrell Johnson, AJ Ross, Kentgen and Riedl) showed up every single day and they're winners."
"Coming to practice every day was always fun with our coaches, my teammates and everyone else," said Riedl, who is off to Dominican University in River Forest. "It was just a brotherhood."