The IHSA basketball season is underway and holiday tournaments will soon give way to America's Original March Madness.
OSF Healthcare is helping high school basketball fans in Illinois relive some of the great memories from the past via the IHSA Vintage Games Series.
Be sure to check back each week this winter to see what classic contest and past stars OSF Healthcare will feature in the Vintage Game Series. In the meantime, you can always explore past IHSA action via the IHSA Archives YouTube Page:
2016 Class 1A Championship: LeRoy 38, Leo 35
LeRoy and Leo engaged in a defensive battle to determine the state championship, as both teams posted their lowest point outputs of the season. LeRoy All-Stater and future Illinois State Redbird Matt Chastain scored the Panthers first 12 points of the game en route to a game-high 21 points. Leo's Darias Oliver helped the Lions keep pace with 14 points and 15 rebounds. LeRoy led 26-24 entering the fourth quarter and found the game tied at 35-35 with :57 seconds remaining. Senior Noah Perry played the hero role for LeRoy, as Chastain passed out of a double-team to an open Perry, who knocked down a trey for the final points of the contest.
1995 Class AA Quarterfinal: Thornton 46, Farragut 43
Led by future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett and Illinois hoops legend Ronnie Fields, Farragut's 1995 squad was one of the most hyped in state history. Rocky Hill's Thornton team created an unforgettable March Madness moment by shocking the Admirals 46-43 in the quarterfinals. Garnett and Fields combined for 33 points in the game, but the Wildcats persevered behind a roster that featured future NFL players Antwaan Randle El and Tai Streets, as well as NBA stalwart Melvin Ely. Thornton beat Rock Island 56-55 in the semis before falling to Manual in the state championship.
2009 Class 3A State Championship: Champaign Centennial 61, Oswego 59
Both Oswego and Champaign Centennial reached their first boys basketball state title games in school history in dramatic fashion, winning their respective semifinals in the closing seconds. The state championship proved to be just as exciting, as Centennial used the late-game heroics of future Illini star Rayvonte Rice to prevail once again.
1997 Class AA State Championship: Peoria Manual 47, West Aurora 43
A star-studded Manual team won its fourth consecutive state championship in 1997. Late, great head coach Wayne McClain relied on his big three of his son Sergio McClain, Frank Williams & Marcus Griffin to become the first team in state history to win four straight titles. Despite Manual's talent, Gordie Kerkman's West Aurora squad pushed Manual to the limit, entering the fourth quarter with a five-point lead.
2014 Class 2A State Championship: Bloomington Central Catholic 76, Nashville 62 (3 OT)
One of the best state title games ever played also featured a contrast in styles. Nashville pounded the ball inside with future NFL offensive lineman Royce Newman, who finished the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Saints countered with the guard tandem of Nick Norton (25 points) and Jake Reinhart (19 points), who combined to make nine of the team's 14 three-pointers in the game. Reinhart opened the third OT with a trey and the Saints never trailed, making free throws down the stretch to pull away.
1952 State Championship: Hebron 64, Quincy 59 (OT)
In what has come to be known as Illinois' version of Hoosiers, Hebron High School and its enrollment of 98 students made an iconic run to a state championship and became the smallest school in state history to win the state championship in the single class system that existed from 1908 to 1971. Hebron's story was chronicled in the 2002 book Once There Were Giants.