Champaign High (now Champaign Central) in 1946 and Centennial in 2009 are the only two high school boys’ basketball teams from Champaign to have won state championships. Here’s a breakdown of both memorable seasons by the Maroons and Chargers:
State tournament location: Huff Gym, Champaign
Coach: Harry Combes
Starters: Ted Beach, Jim Cottrell, Rodney Fletcher, Earl Harrison and Fred Major
State tournament roundup: The Maroons used a strong second half to top Galesburg 49-40 in a first-round game before Champaign got off to a strong start the next day in a 55-43 state quarterfinal win against Marion. A close state semifinal game throughout against Rockford East saw Beach deliver a game-high 24 points to propel Champaign High to a 53-47 win. In the state championship game, the Maroons held off a late rally by Centralia to post a 54-48 win and secure their place in history.
State tournament location: Carver Arena, Peoria
Coach: Tim Lavin
Starters: Bryson Davis-Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Jordan Johnson, James Kinney and Rayvonte Rice
State tournament roundup: The Chargers were already guaranteed to bring home the program’s first-ever state trophy just by reaching Peoria, but Centennial pulled off a fourth-quarter rally to top Chicago North Lawndale 66-65 in the Class 3A state semifinal game. Rice and Kinney, two future Division I players, each scored 22 points. The next day, Centennial staved off a late charge by Oswego to produce a 61-59 win in the state title game, with a key steal by Rice (team-high 21 points) sealing the historic triumph.