—-Alden-Hebron varsity boys basketball players warm up for a home game under the jerseys and banner of the 1952 State Championship team, the smallest school to ever win a title under the one class playoff format. (photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

The Hoosiers Of Illinois High School Basketball

Maybe not as many people know of the 1986 Gene Hackman movie “Hoosiers” about an unlikely small town high school basketball team in hoops obsessed Indiana that ascends to state champions in the day of single class state playoffs; but Illinois also had its own version of a small school facing a larger school in a single class playoff. That team was the Hebron Giants, who won the 1952 state title against Quincy High, a school twenty five times larger than their 98 student enrollment.

Now known as the Alden-Hebron Giants, the same school building still stands, as does the gym the state championship run happened in. As with most things it was replaced with a newer addition, but it still retains it’s hoops and the magic of that historical run 70 years ago.

The school’s gym that was used during the 1952 State Championship season is still standing, but hasn’t hosted a basketball game in decades. (photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
Alden-Hebron varsity girls basketball players enter the gym at Alden-Hebron High School, past a frame cutout from the schools former gym .(Photo by Vincent David Johnson)
A child’s view from under the stands as Alden-Hebron boys varsity basketball players prepare to take the court at home for a game against South Beloit on Jan. 5, 2022. (photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
The Tigard Gym at Alden-Hebron High School was built in 1986.

Video from the 1952 Championship Game

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