Glenbrook South tops Evanston to earn first Central Suburban League South win

Glenbrook South guard Cooper Noard and Titans coach Phil Ralston have an understanding.

"If I take a bad shot he'll let me know, but as long as I'm just staying within my range and making shots, he just lets me free," Noard said.

His range against Evanston last Friday?

"I'm pretty certain he was in the next township over on some of those shots," Ralston said.

Noard made three, 3-point baskets from as deep as 30 feet and scored 11 first-quarter points against the Wildkits, kick-starting the offense in Glenbrook South's 70-54 Central Suburban League South victory Dec. 3 in the Titan Dome.

"I tell you, when he's shooting like that, that basket looks like it's about three times the size that it really is," Ralston said.

Noard had to deal with three different defenders over the course of the game, and the adjusting Wildkits held him to one additional 2-point basket after leading Glenbrook South to a 25-12 first-quarter lead.

Given the outcome, that was OK with him.

"The bigger thing is, when I'm making shots, it opens up other opportunities for my teammates to get open and that's kind of what happened," said the Cornell-bound point guard.

"Obviously I made a couple shots in the first quarter. We got out to an early lead and their game plan switched to just kind of taking me away, so I was able to find my teammates for a couple shots," he said.

Gaven Marr scored 15 points, R.J. Davis scored 10, and when Evanston cut what had been a 17-point third-quarter deficit to 7 early in the fourth, Nick Martinelli scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the final five minutes, to go with 10 rebounds.

"I feel like our guys knew that they were taking it at us, and it was going to be a 32-minute game of domination," said Evanston coach Mike Ellis.

"That's when we stepped up and just kind of willed some plays. The problem is we really only played tough for eight of those minutes and GBS really played hard for all 32 minutes."

Glenbrook South (6-1, 1-0) shot 56% from the floor for the game, making 27 of 48 shot attempts. It was a clean game, Glenbrook South committing only 7 turnovers and Evanston 9.

"We just have a really complex offense that allows everyone to score. And when Nick and Cooper are going it really opens the game up for other people because the defense is focusing on them and we can find holes in that," said Davis, who scored 7 points in an 8-0 run to help the Titans post a 39-25 halftime lead. He also grabbed 3 key fourth-quarter defensive rebounds to help hold off the Wildkits.

Evanston, which swept the St. Viator Thanksgiving Tournament at 4-0 before facing the Palatine tournament champion Titans, were saddled by foul trouble to 6-foot-7 forward Prince Adams, who scored 8 before fouling out with 53 seconds left to play.

Ellis went four-deep off the bench, sixth man Jonah Ross hitting a pair of fourth-quarter 3s that bit into the Titans' 53-39 lead after four quarters.

Ralston took a timeout after Ross' second 3 brought the Wildkits within 54-47 with 5:59 left. When Glenbrook South returned to the court it ran off 10 straight points.

Martinelli put back his own miss, Marr made 2 free throws, Martinelli converted a half-hook and another inside basket before he capped the run with a runout two-handed dunk for a 64-47 lead with 3:20 left.

Evanston got no closer than 64-52 with 1:11 left.

The sole Glenbrook South starter not to score in double figures, 6-4 forward Spencer Brown, made the effort plays, grabbing 7 rebounds with 3 steals and a blocked shot to go along with 4 points.

"That's what all of us pride ourselves on," Davis said. "We want to do everything to give our team the best chance to win, and those are the little things that you have to do, and those are the little things that great teams have to do to be great."

The Titans, then ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by the Associated Press, met one of those teams on Sunday - the No. 1 team in the state, Glenbard West, at the Hoops Classic Shootout at Ridgewood High School.

Paxton Warden buried four 3-point attempts to finish with 20 points to lead Glenbard West to a 57-54 victory over Glenbrook South. Gonzaga recruit Braden Huff finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

The third game of the four-game shootout pitted two of the top Class 4A teams in the state, both undefeated at the time. That all changed on Sunday, when Glenbrook South's Noard missed a long 3-pointer with 3 seconds left in regulation.

"Last year we had no fans in the crowd, so compared to this year we've had a lot of fans showing up," Warden said. "I love the energy."

The Hilltoppers, who improved to 6-0, built a 33-14 lead in the second quarter, but Glenbrook South charged back behind the shooting of Noard.

On a court with six Division I recruits including the Elon-bound Martinelli, Warden was one of the brightest stars. He sparked a 20-0 Glenbard West run in the first half with 10 points and 5 rebounds

Although Warden was draining 3-pointers, his biggest basket came on a tip-in with 2:27 left in the game to extend the lead to 56-52. Huff made one of two free throws with 8.5 seconds left.

Noard put on another shooting clinic, hitting 7 long-range 3-pointers for 21 points.

"We knew they were a really good team," Huff said. "It was a really good team, even after that run we knew they weren't going to go away."

- Bob Narang contributed to this report.

Cooper Noard
Phil Ralston
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