Four minutes, 12 seconds

“The best day” of Tyler Ponticelli’s life Tuesday began with his first speeding ticket on Keystone Road in Northbrook.

Ponticelli said he was in a hurry getting to Glenbrook North that morning and got caught in a notorious speed trap. And his day would just get better.

GBN’s 6-foot-7 senior forward returned to the court for the first time this season after having back surgery Dec. 3 to repair a herniated disk. The top returning player for the top seeded team in the Class 4A Niles North Sectional played three different stints for a total of 4:12, starting with 4:33 remaining in the second quarter when Ponticelli stood up and walked to the scorer’s table to check in while receiving a loud applause from GBN fans.

As if the Spartans needed any more heart-warming stories after going undefeated in the CSL North and beating Waukegan for its second CSL title last week. Ponticelli may not play again this season as the Spartans’ playoff opponents get tougher, but Ponticelli has plenty of hope.

“I hope I can keep progressing. I’ve been progressing the whole month,” Ponticelli said. “If you asked me if I believed I would play this season, I would say, ‘No way. No how.'”

Ponticelli, who will play at Brown University next season, injured his back during the summertime AAU season.

“Two weeks before the season, it got a lot worse,” Ponticelli said. “I had trouble walking. I couldn’t put my socks on in the morning.”

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