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Class 8AA Boys Basketball Field Blends Perennial Powers and Newcomers

The 2005 Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Class 8AA Boys Basketball State Final Tournament that begins Saturday at Stanford (Olympia) High School is a blend of perennial powers and seven first-time qualifiers.

The impressive 16-team field has a combined won-loss record of 301-34, a winning percentage of .898. Four of the 16 are unbeaten. They are perennial powers Bloomington Junior High at 23-0 and Cahokia Wirth at 21-0 and newcomers Park Forest Forest Trail at 17-0 and Washington Central at 22-0.

Seven of the 16 are making their first trip to the 8AA State Tournament.

Competition in the 21st annual 8AA State Tournament gets under way at 9:00 a.m. Saturday with the first of eight games scheduled for the day. Four quarterfinal games will be played Monday (Feb. 14) beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Semifinals are scheduled Tuesday (Feb. 15) beginning at 6:00 p.m. The third place and championship game will be played Thursday (Feb. 17) starting at 6:00 p.m.

This is the 76th year of boys basketball state series competition in IESA schools. The current two-class system has been in operation since 1985.

Three of the schools competing in this year's state final have won the 8AA state title before. Pekin Broadmoor was champion in 1987 and 1989.

Bloomington Junior High took the crown in 1990 and 2001. Charleston won in 2000.

Seven-time state qualifier Bloomington Junior High battles Pekin Broadmoor (18-5) in the second first round game Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Pekin Broadmoor is making its 10th appearance in Class 8AA. Charleston (20-1) meets Springfield Franklin (20-1) in a battle of perennial powers at 4:30 p.m.

Charleston is making its ninth appearance in Class 8AA and Springfield Franklin its sixth. Cahokia Wirth is in the field for the seventh time and faces first time qualifier Dolton Lincoln (16-2) at 6:00 p.m. In the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. five-time qualifier Macomb (16-4) battles Arlington Heights South (18-1). Arlington Heights South is appearing for the second time.

Other first-timers are Country Club Hills Southwood (19-1), Channahon (22-1), Springfield Jefferson (16-6) and Heyworth (14-8). Southwood meets Champaign Jefferson (21-1) in the opening game Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Channahon faces Paris Junior High (18-3) at noon. Jefferson meets Washington Central at 1:30 p.m. and Heyworth is set to battle Park Forest Forest Trail at 3:00 p.m.

Champaign Franklin beat Morton Junior High, 55-54 in double overtime, for the 2004 title when Verdell Jones, Jr. made an incredible three-quarter court shot at the buzzer that was captured on video and was played on ESPN Sports Center. Video of that amazing sequence of events can be seen at here.

Complete pairings and timetable for the Class 7AA Boys Basketball State Final Tournament can be found at http://www.iesa.org/activities/bbk/.



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