Glenbrook South shocks Simeon in front of a capacity crowd at the When Sides Collide Shootout
The No. 4 Titans knocked off No. 2 Simeon 57-54 on Saturday. The Titans celebrated wildly after the win but had measured words after the game.
The majority of basketball fans in the Chicago area likely don’t know that Glenbrook South is in Glenview, not in Northbrook, Glen Ellyn, Forest View or wherever.
Fans all over the country know exactly where Simeon is located.
The premier program in Illinois entered the When Sides Collide Shootout on Saturday at Benet on a 10-game winning streak. The Wolverines’ only loss this season was to a prep school in Arizona that has postgraduate players. They seemed poised to challenge Glenbard West’s seasonlong hold on the No. 1 ranking.
Glenbrook South put an end to all that. The No. 4 Titans knocked off No. 2 Simeon 57-54. They celebrated wildly after the victory but had measured words after the game.
‘‘We will enjoy it for now, but we have to get ready for our upcoming conference games,’’ Glenbrook South star Nick Martinelli said.
Phil Ralston took over at Glenbrook South in 2017 and has turned the program into a powerhouse. He led Geneva to a fourth-place finish in Class 4A in 2015.
‘‘This was a big game,’’ Ralston said. ‘‘But we already won the game by getting the game. We’ve been asking for a game like this for a while, and no one wanted to give it to us.’’
Martinelli, an Elon recruit, is one of the major Player of the Year contenders. He showed why in the first quarter, with 14 points and eight rebounds. Simeon, which focused its defensive efforts on Cornell recruit Cooper Noard early, buckled down after that. Martinelli finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
‘‘He can really play,’’ Simeon coach Robert Smith said. ‘‘He was able to make baskets, and that got everybody going. That’s a good team. We didn’t lose to a bad team; we just didn’t play up to our capabilities.’’
Aviyon Morris, Simeon’s defensive whiz, helped limit Noard to nine points, but the rest of the Titans stepped up. Martinelli found sophomore Nate Kasher for two huge three-pointers in the fourth quarter.
‘‘We already all trust one another, but this was great for our confidence,’’ Kasher said. ‘‘Now we trust each other even more.’’
‘‘This cannot be our highlight of the season,’’ Ralston said. ‘‘Our kids know that. They are humble enough and hungry enough to know what’s really important.’’
Simeon had multiple chances to tie the score at the end but couldn’t get anything to fall. The best chance came on a three-pointer that Morris tried to launch from the corner, but Martinelli swatted it away.
‘‘I knew he was going to shoot it, and I knew I had to get it,’’ Martinelli said. ‘‘It was super-exciting. We were all talking to each other and making sure not to give up a three-pointer. We are all so close, and that’s how we were able to withstand that last 22 seconds.’’
Jaylen Drane led Simeon (16-2) with 14 points, and Morris finished with 11. The Wolverines were without starting center Wes Rubin, one of the best big men in the state. He injured his ankle in practice Friday, and Smith isn’t sure how long he’ll be out.
Rubin’s brother Miles, a 6-7 junior, had 12 points, and Nicholas Robinson added nine points and six rebounds for the Wolverines.
‘‘Their kids stepped up and made big baskets,’’ Smith said. ‘‘That’s part of basketball. They are playing Simeon; they are going to make some baskets. We didn’t play the way we can play or guard the way we can guard.’’
Watch the final minute of Glenbrook South vs. Simeon: