Glenbrook South denies Stevenson title at Palatine
Glenbrook South senior captains Cooper Noard and Nick Martinelli slowly walked behind the bench area to find a spot to quietly celebrate late Saturday afternoon.
With just over six minutes left in the championship game of the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic, Noard and Martinelli wanted to put a bow on a fantastic team effort.
Noard and Martinelli punctuated a dominating performance with a in-game slap of hands and a big hug. After a slow start in the opening minutes, the Titans played a near flawless performance, hitting 10 3-pointers in a 79-42 boys basketball rout over Stevenson at Palatine.
Martinelli, who was named the tourney MVP, finished with 26 points in just over three quarters of play. Rodell Davis Jr. buried 5 3-pointers for 15 points and Noard, a Cornell recruit, added three 3s for 14 points.
Martinelli admitted it was an stunning outcome, beating the Patriots (3-1) via a running clock.
"That was awesome," Martinelli said. "We were sitting on the bench, just saying 'Wow.' Stevenson is a great program. I usually see Stevenson winning, and we beat them by almost 30 points. It was awesome to see the other guys get in the game."
The Titans (4-0) trailed 10-2 but put together a strong effort on both ends to mount a furious comeback, pulling ahead thanks to a big game from 3-point land, good ball movement and cutting for layups and winning the rebounding battle.
"That doesn't happen very often," Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston said. "The kids knew this was a big-time playoff game, and the kids really rose to the occasion. Our kids had the confidence to come back after being down 10-2. That's a sign of a good team, especially early in the year. They had the poise to come back."
The 6-foot-8 Martinelli's active two-way game was too much to handle for the Patriots. The Elon recruit was hitting jumpers, driving to the basket for layups, attacking the glass and hitting cutters for baskets. He scored 11 points in the third quarter to help the Titans build a 59-31 lead following a putback basket off his own miss.
"When you have so many good guys around you, it's really not hard to score," Martinelli said. "We have a great team atmosphere. We're going to have a hard time losing because not many teams can break us apart. We're always playing together."
The 6-1 Noard added one final touch with a basket with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter to give the Titans a 72-40 lead.
"This team has a lot of potential," Noard said. "That's a really good Stevenson team, so to come out and hold them to 42 points is a great team win for us. We played great defense and all us of worked together. We weren't really worried when we were down. We had to focus and tighten up on defense and get our offense going."
Stevenson senior guard Jaden Evans connected on 3 3-pointers to end with a team-high 15 points.
"Early in my career, I had a whole lost of (losses) like this, and at the Proviso West (tournament)," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "Glenbrook South is very talented. They're well-coached and early in the season, they're a well-oiled machine. They're really good this early in the season."