ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–For high school basketball teams, the summer is all about getting better and building toward November. What better way to build than with a championship in the East High School Summer League.

The championship game was played Tuesday evening. The hosts, the E-Rabs were in it facing Guilford. East had defeated Auburn earlier in one semifinal game. Guilford defeated Rockford Lutheran in the other semifinal.

In the championship game East bolted out to a 31-21 halftime lead. The Vikings cut that difference down to five points with a strong start to the second half. But the E-Rabs regrouped, stepped on the gas, and pulled away for a 59-51 win.

So what does a summer league championship mean? “It means that we have a good chance of winning the NIC-10,” said East forward Matthew Hoarde. “A good chance of trying to go down state. This is just a test run for us for the regular season.”

East coach Roy Sackmaster is happy with the championship, but he’s happier with the improvement he’s seen his guys make the last couple weeks.

“We’ve been having a good summer, but what I like about this tournament is in the end you’re going to know exactly where you’re at compared to everyone around here. We’ve grown a lot. If we’d played these games a few weeks ago, we don’t win these games. And I’m just proud of our guys that we found a way to grind it out against two really good basketball teams, and it just shows the NIC-10 season is going to be a fun one this year.”