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No team has done a better job of defending Cooper Noard than Evanston in his four years as a starter for Glenbrook South’s basketball team.

But more often than not, just one good quarter of play from Noard has done enough damage to the Wildkits.

Noard did it again Friday night at Beardsley Gymnasium, erupting for 12 points in the third quarter to break open a tight contest and lifting the state’s third-ranked team to a 56-50 victory over the Wildkits.

Noard finished with a game-high 19 points and post player Nick Martinelli added 12 as the Titans maintained their unbeaten record in Central Suburban League South division play and improved to 15-1 on the season.

Evanston, now 11-5, did a significantly better job defending the Titans than in an earlier 70-54 loss at GBS. But a pair of 3-point baskets by Noard as part of a 9-0 run early in the second half helped the visitors find a comfort zone and play with the lead. They never gave it back, despite missing eight free throws in the fourth quarter.

David Gieser (14 points) and Rashawn Bost (12) paced ETHS, which shot 46% from the floor and only turned the ball over 11 times in the upset bid.

Evanston head coach Mike Ellis and his staff recognized after the first matchup with the Titans that trying to play a game in the 70s with the Titans wasn’t going to end well. The Kits played under control Friday night and Ellis said that was definitely a step in the right direction for his club.

“We only had 11 turnovers, and I liked that,” said Ellis. “That’s the first game in a long time that we’ve had fewer turnovers than our opponents. If we can take care of the ball like that, we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win our next couple of games [Saturday against Rolling Meadows, Monday versus Loyola Academy].

“They capitalized on their opportunities better than we did tonight. We still want our guys to play with freedom, and they did a good job of finding some mismatches tonight. But when you hurry up on offense, sometimes you skip the options you have to score.”

Noard shot two air balls and only scored a single bucket in the first half, a 3-pointer in the final minute that helped the Titans take a 26-22 lead into the lockerroom. But the Wildkit defense lost track of him in the third period and the senior guard fired in four straight shots to build the lead for Glenbrook South.

“He’s a Division I point guard, one of the best in our conference, and with his efficiency and his shooting range, he can score from anywhere on the floor,” said Ellis. “You’re not going to stop him. Just being a four-year starter in our league shows you how special he is. Between them, he and Martinelli had 40 points the last time we played them, and tonight they scored 31. With players like that, you’re not going to keep their stats below their averages.”

Glenbrook South stretched the lead to 15 points at 49-34 after scoring the first 6 points of the final period, before the Wildkits mounted a comeback. But the hosts could get no closer than that final margin as a pair of baskets by Bost and another by freshman Yaris Irby in the last minute kept the finale respectable.

Prince Adams added 9 points and five rebounds for Evanston.  

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