For the third time in program history the Winnebago Indians boys basketball team finished as the second best team in the entire state of Illinois in Class 2A.
The Indians fell to Chicago Orr 76-49 in the 2A State Title game Saturday night at the Peoria Civic Center. Winnebago (30-3) finishes as the 2A State Runner-Up, and with the win the Spartans are now back-to-back State Champions.
Winnebago started the game out of sync, and trailed 15-6 after the first quarter. But the Indians battled back in the second, outscoring Orr 15-9 and went into halftime down only trailing by three points.
After three and a half quarters the Indians ran out of gas. The Spartans went on a 15-2 run in the third, and never looked back.
Winnebago senior Andrew Morrissey led the team with 16 points, and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Ty Waller added another 12 points. After the game the Indians were filled with many different emotions.
“I’m grateful for all the teammates I’ve had by my side all year,” says senior guard Kenzell Jones. “I’m not even mad we took a lost. I’m really proud of how far we got.”
“We worked really hard in the offseason, in the season, and we got here to second place,” says Waller. “I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be here. So it’s amazing to be here, and that feeling is great.”
“It’s tough,” says Morrissey. “We got second in state. There’s not too much to hold our heads down, but it hurts.”
For Winnebago coach Joe Murphy this is third time he’s finished just one win short of hoisting the State Championship trophy, but he’s still extremely proud of the young men he had the privilege of coaching this season.
“The fact is that we were here,” says Murphy.
“They played great. We’re second place in the state. When the night’s over, and they really start thinking about things second in the state is pretty darn good.”
Winnebago High School will welcome home the 2A State Runner-Up around 2:30 Sunday afternoon.