Chart toppers: Best Assembly Hall memories, courtesy Fred Kroner
On Saturday, the Assembly Hall celebrates its 50th birthday. Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner researched the 83 high school basketball teams that were crowned as state champions at the Hall (57 boys’ teams and 26 girls’ teams) and came up with these five memorable championship games. The boys’ tourneys were in town from 1963 to ‘95, and the girls played their finals locally from 1978 to ‘91.
Girls’ 1991 Class 1A championship
Sullivan (35-0) 65,
Seneca (28-1) 48
In the Assembly Hall 1A finale, nationally ranked Sullivan (14th in the final USA Today poll) rode the exploits of Becky Clayton and Amanda Glazebrook — each of whom were Division I signees — to the championship. Glazebrook had 22 points in the title game. Clayton had a double-double to go with seven steals for coach Scott Thomas’ team, the only one from the area to capture a girls’ basketball crown in the first 37 years of the IHSA event.
Boys’ 1969 one-class championship
Proviso East (30-1) 58, Peoria Spalding (28-4) 51
Jim Brewer led the state champions from Maywood, but the tournament’s top scorer was Champaign Central senior Clyde Turner with 91 points, including 37 in the Maroons’ third-place win. Brewer had 17 points in Proviso’s title-game win. Future Illini Alvin O’Neal, from Spalding, joined Brewer and Turner on the six-player all-tournament squad. Central’s 30-4 team was the winningest one in coach Lee Cabutti’s 29-year tenure at the school.
Boys’ 1990 Class 1A championship
Trenton Wesclin (30-3) 83, Prairie Central (31-1) 78
Brent Brede scored 36 points as Wesclin edged top-ranked and previously unbeaten Prairie Central in two OTs. Gary Tidwell, in his third straight appearance at state while playing for stepfather Charlie Strasburger, scored 26 points and Daton Kupferschmid had 20 for PC in the finals. Tidwell, whose Schlarman boys’ team won 20 games this winter, totaled 207 points in his career at state, covering 12 games.
Girls’ 1990 Class 1A championship
Teutopolis (30-1) 62, Nashville (29-3) 29
The Wooden Shoes became the first girls’ program with three consecutive state crowns. Coach Dennis Koester’s team was led by future Illini Vicki Klingler, who scored 18 points in the finals. In three state games, T-Town yielded 11 total first-quarter points. Shiloh’s Courtney Porter — whose team finished third — holds the still-standing record for career points scored at state (241). She had a tourney-high 83 in three games as a senior.
Boys’ 1963 one-class championship
Chicago Carver (28-5) 53, Centralia (32-2) 52
Unranked Carver won the title on unheralded Anthony Smedley’s late basket against the top-rated team. The winning basket was the only shot he attempted in the game. Overall, Smedley scored four points at state. The tourney was the first high school event held at the Assembly Hall, taking place less than a month after it opened. In the school’s first title-game appearance in 1962, Carver lost by a point to Stephen Decatur.