Glenbrook South deals Maine South its first loss
With no state basketball tournament this season, winning a conference title has taken on more meaning than ever for many teams.
That's why there was some late-season-like intensity on Friday night between Maine South and Glenbrook South.
Both 4-0 heading into the game, the two unbeatens were facing off in their first Central Suburban League game of the season with high hopes of starting a championship march off right.
"Obviously, it (stinks) that we're not able to play for a state championship because I think we're really, really good this year," Glenbrook South forward Nick Martinelli said. "But I do think that winning this conference would be super exciting and that's what we're all looking for."
The Titans are off to a good start in their CSL championship quest.
They blew open a tie game at halftime with a strong third quarter and coasted to a 55-33 win in Park Ridge. Glenbrook South moves to 5-0 while host Maine South drops to 4-1.
"This was a huge game," Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston said. "Really, the only thing we've got to play for is the conference. The hard part is that we've got to come back and play them again tomorrow."
The Central Suburban League has scheduled all division games to be on back-to-back nights, Fridays and Saturdays.
In less than 24 hours, Maine South will have to find an answer for Glenbrook South's inside-outside punch of Martinelli and guard Cooper Noard. The two combined for 46 points, 24 for Martinelli and 22 for Noard, who had a total of six 3-pointers.
Both Martinelli and Noard are receiving Division I interest.
"We've been playing together since fourth or fifth grade and we've always had that connection," Noard said of his longtime friendship with Martinelli. "We find each other open a lot, we play well together. We just have that chemistry where we feel like we can just score on anyone."
Glenbrook South broke open a 21-21 tie at halftime by getting the ball inside to Martinelli, who scored 10 points in the third quarter. Noard added 5 points, including a 3-pointer.
By the end of the third quarter, the Titans were up 40-30, and they added to that in the fourth as Noard drilled 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
Maine South had trouble hitting shots in the second half, and scored only 1 field goal in the fourth quarter.
Sean Gallery was the Hawks' only player in double-figures. He had 10 points.
"Well, they (Glenbrook South) took the first game in the series," Maine South coach Tony Lavorato, Jr. said. "I thought we had a very good second quarter, but we cost ourselves in the third quarter with transition defense. They got a lot of easy baskets.
"But I'm excited about tomorrow. Tip your hat to them. They took Day One. But we'll see how we play tomorrow. It's going to be very NBA-ish. You're going to be able to make a couple tweaks here and there. But that's the whole season."