DECATUR – Jay-Z spits rhymes from the stereo of the decade-old Chevy Cavalier. Lewis Jackson nods to a thumping beat, almost in a state of hypnosis.
Lull him to sleep and he could still find his way home in this city. He knows these streets, crowded by more kids than cars as students exit Eisenhower High School, like the back of the left hand he rests atop the steering wheel.
Fred Kroner's random thoughts
WHAT CHAMPAIGN NEEDS
PEORIA – They represent three generations of Champaign high school students. They are individuals whose teenage years are known historically for wars and conflicts.
Ted Beach was raised during World War II. Clyde Turner finished his high school career while the Vietnam conflict was on the minds of youngsters. The turbulence during Verdell Jones' time at the school has centered around the Iraq War.
PEORIA – Students, parents, teachers and graduates of Central High School filled their corner of Peoria's Carver Arena with maroon Friday afternoon – and with the excitement of seeing their team in the state basketball tournament for the first time in 39 years.
"This is pretty monumental," said junior Sara Salmon. "The fact that it's happening while I'm here (at Central) is lucky for me."
PEORIA -- Champaign Central can still win its final game of the boys' basketball season.
The Maroons will have that opportunity Saturday but not in the game they wanted. Central was thrust into the third-place contest of the IHSA Class
3A state tournament by a Chicago Simeon team chasing a third straight state championship.
Senior voices his desire to be sports broadcaster
CHAMPAIGN – Some of us recognize Chris Lehmann in different ways than others.
He's the Champaign Central senior basketball player who is known for wearing a white head- band, as well as adding inside muscle during the tournament series as the Maroons secured a long-sought state tournament berth.
His 80-foot heave lifted Franklin to eighth-grade title
CHAMPAIGN – Verdell Jones already has one state title on his basketball resume.
Staff writer Jeff Huth sat down with Central coach Scott Davis as the Maroons looked to become Champaign's first state champion since 1946.
Central vs. Simeon, 1:45 p.m. Friday
Random thoughts from high school beat writers Jeff Huth and Fred Kroner: