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IHSA Boys Basketball: Most Memorable Games of the Decade

IHSA Boys Basketball: Most Memorable Games of the Decade

With a memorable decade of IHSA high school basketball finishing up last season, we are taking a look back on some of the memorable players, teams and games that occurred over the past 10 years. 

For the second part of our All-Decade series, I'm selecting the six most memorable games featuring Chicagoland teams that stand out this decade. Most of these games had postseason or title implications and feature plenty of nationally-ranked programs.

While there are dozens of great games played every season, these six are my selections because of the star power, memorable teams and setting that occurred. 

If you have games you remember over the past decade be sure to send us your list on Twitter @NBCSPreps. We'll have more all-decade coverage this week with a look back on memorable teams. 

Curie holds off Whitney Young in four OTs for city title in 2014

The highly-touted matchup for the city title in 2014 featured a matchup of the top two players in the state and arguably the top two players in the nation in Curie's Cliff Alexander and Whitney Young's Jahlil Okafor.

What followed was a memorable four-overtime clash in front of a packed crowd at Chicago State that resulted in the Condors picking up the city title. Despite both Alexander and Okafor playing through foul trouble, the intensity and atmosphere of the game was unrivaled of any area game this decade.

Since Alexander and Okafor didn't face each other often in the local high school setting, having the two megastars clash for the biggest local title was a huge moment for Chicago basketball. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and news outlets from all over the country attended.

Eventually, Curie forfeited the win (and most of the season) when the Condors were found to be using academically ineligible players during the season. But despite the outcome being erased from the record books, it's hard to forget a game of this magnitude.

Whitney Young holds off Jalen Brunson, Stevenson in Class 4A state semifinals in 2014

Peoria featured plenty of drama in 2014 as the state semifinals in Class 4A had an epic clash of stars. In the end, Whitney Young led by seniors Jahlil Okafor, Paul White and Miles Reynolds held off an incredible 56-point outburst from Stevenson junior guard Jalen Brunson to pick up the win.

Despite Brunson being impossible to guard, the Dolphins had a deep and balanced team that season as Okafor went for 33 points. This game is also remembered for a photo of Jalen Brunson captured when it looked like he was giving an obscene gesture. Following a meeting, it was determined that Brunson didn't do anything wrong and he was allowed to play in Stevenson's third-place victory.

Whitney Young would hold off Benet and Sean O'Mara to capture the 4A title the next night as they cemented their status as one of the decade's best teams.

Cliff Alexander, Curie stun unbeaten Montverde on national television in 2014

Chicago basketball made a major national statement on Martin Luther King Day in 2014 when Curie and Whitney Young beat national top-five powerhouse programs on national television.

Jahlil Okafor and Whitney Young took down Oak Hill Academy for a huge win as the Dolphins played one of the toughest schedules in the country that season.

But it was Cliff Alexander's incredible effort against Montverde that had the nation buzzing.

Exploding for 30 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks against the previously-unbeaten No. 1 team in the country, Alexander single-handedly destroyed a team of high-major high school all-stars. Montverde that season had two future lottery picks in D'Angelo Russell and Ben Simmons but it was Alexander who had the commentary team questioning if he might shatter a backboard after another massive dunk. 

Wayne Blackshear, Morgan Park claim city title over Marshall at UIC in 2010

An early classic in this decade, this win was a pivotal moment in Morgan Park's rise in the city's basketball scene. Capping off an incredible regular season from junior Wayne Blackshear, the Louisville commit banked in a runner with a little over 13 seconds left to give the Mustangs the one-point win over Marshall.

The game included numerous lead changes and back-and-forth tension as Morgan Park had previously escaped the quarterfinals and semifinals with close wins that also came down to the wire. Head coach Nick Irvin captured his biggest title to date with the win as it helped establish the Mustangs as a force during the decade.

East Aurora, Ryan Boatright eliminate previously-unbeaten Benet in Class 4A sectional semifinals in 2011

One of the most memorable upsets of the state playoffs this decade occurred when previously-unbeaten Benet was knocked out of the Class 4A state playoffs by Ryan Boatright and East Aurora.

Although Benet was 29-0 and the No. 7 team in the USA Today national rankings at the time, the Redwings had no answer for senior guard Ryan Boatright. With the Tomcats playing in front of a sold-out home crowd, Benet trailed by 17 in the second half before roaring back and cutting the lead to one in the final minutes.

But Boatright and his teammates responded to Benet's final challenge and ousted perhaps the best suburban team of the decade as Frank Kaminsky and David Sobolewski memorable high school careers came to an end. 

No. 1 Simeon topples No. 2 Proviso East in Class 4A state title clash in 2012

One of the most highly-anticipated title games in state history lived up to the billing as Jabari Parker and Simeon captured their third title in a row with a two-point win over Proviso East.

The state's top two teams, the Pirates were unbeaten entering the title game while the Wolverines only had one loss on the season. Despite a strong effort from senior Sterling Brown and carrying a five-point lead into the fourth quarter, Proviso East couldn't hold off Simeon.

Of Simeon's four state titles in a row, this was their stiffest test in the title game as the Pirates had an incredible season.

High School Lites Week 2 basketball roundup


High School Lites Week 2 basketball roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great basketball action on Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago had highlights of many of the area's top matchups.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CSNPreps for all of the latest IHSA basketball scores and highlights.

Windy City Legends: Kendrick Nunn

Team of the Week: Catalyst Maria Soccer

Athlete of the Week: Halle Douglass

Friday's scores:

Stevenson 57, Zion-Benton 44

No. 8 Evanston 50, New Trier 40

Homewood-Flossmoor 63, Lincoln-Way Central 31

No. 14 Thornton 58, Rich Central 34

No. 4 Whitney Young 56, No. 11 Lincoln Park 50

Loyola 34, Notre Dame 31

Homewood-Flossmoor 63, Lincoln-Way Central 31

Francis W. Parker 55, Latin 47

GIRLS: Evanston 59, New Trier 33


Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Mather 61, Foreman 57

Catalyst Maria soccer coach Jose Miguel Burgos wins SportsEngine TrueSport Champion Coach Recognition award

Catalyst Maria soccer coach Jose Miguel Burgos wins SportsEngine TrueSport Champion Coach Recognition award

Catalyst Maria soccer coach Jose Miguel Burgos said he’d never been surprised, until the day the school, his players and even family from Chile let him know he won the SportsEngine TrueSport Champion Coach Recognition Award.

“It means a lot to me because of the recognition we have for the kids,” Burgos said. “As I try to think all in, and think about this, I think my initial inclination is to think about them, about the fact that what we’re doing is seen, that their hard work will pay off and those values that I’m trying to instill in them are reaching them. And I’m very humbled about the whole experience.

"I’ve never been thanked publicly and it’s new, but it’s obviously something positive for the community, which the work I do is centered around.”

The school held a ceremony to honor Burgos, whose nomination bested more than 300 others to win. His team at Catalyst Maria won $2,500. Burgos’ friend and former colleague, Joel Farran, nominated him for his countless works in the community. Just some of the acts Burgos was noted for in the nomination include helping facilitate college scholarships for students, building relationships for students who were struggling to find proper housing, reaching out to students on the middle school levels, inviting parents to come together through events like potluck picnics and organizing a tournament for sixth through eighth-grade students as a way to provide a safe and fun environment for local children.

“He puts people first, and he puts people before himself, and he’s all about elevating others,” Farran said. “Whether it’s on the field or off the field, soccer is just one of the ways he does that. But it is the way he knows best. And it’s about creating opportunities — not only on the field — but when you fail on the field, learning to adjust from that and create solutions, but off the field, creating opportunities for scholar-athletes to continue to excel.”

Burgos’ students agree.

“He’s more than just a coach,” soccer player Alondra Gonzalez said. "He’s like another father-figure to me. When it comes to coaching, he does more than beyond. He created a webpage so everyone could see us. He created a ‘Go Fund Me’ [page] so we could have money for our uniforms, like jackets, because we play in the cold, and he wants us to do a lot more than just play and practice almost every day to be better.”

Another student-athlete, Angel Santillan, said Burgos is an “amazing person.”

“He means everything to me,” Santillan said. "Like the sport, it’s just a passion that he does everything for us. It’s a great experience to be coached by Mr. B. He’s just an amazing coach and he does everything for us.”

Three-time Olympian Kara Winger presented Burgos with the award, as a representative of TrueSport.

“Coach Burgos is clearly taking the time and effort to make a difference in these kids’ lives,” Winger said. “I was very blessed to have amazing coaches growing up who taught me how to be not only the best athlete I could be, but to be the best person I could be, and it’s clearly his mission here at Catalyst Maria schools, so TrueSport is so excited to honor him with the Champion Coach Award.”

Burgos, who was visibly moved by the surprise celebration, said he appreciated his work being recognized.

“I know there’s a lot of joy when you give, when you simply give without thinking about what’s going to happen next,” he said. “I do it because it’s the way that I continue to grow; it keeps me alive. I think we humans are here on Earth to take care of each other, to respect each other, to love each other, to cheer each other up. And those are values that I defend, and I have defended always.

"And now that I’m here, and I see that they are recognized, it validates what I knew. It will ultimately — if you are kind to people, if you’re loving, this is what happens. And it’s wonderful to see it for myself.”