—Marshall High School’s basketball gym, in Chicago, doesn’t hang banners from the rafters, they have so many they hang them like wallpaper.

Old School

Basketball was barely over a decade old when John Marshal High School was built on Chicago’s west side in 1895. The gym located on the second floor of the school is definitely one of the oldest gyms on the list for best high school gyms in Illinois.

While age and the unique look of this gym play a major roll in why many put it on their “top gyms” list, the history of the boys and girls basketball programs here makes the timber floors and brick walls even more of a destination for high school hoops fans.

Marshall’s basketball gym has about 5-6 rows court side, but no seating along the baselines at court level. A balcony seating area can be reached by one set of metal stairs, Mar. 2019. (photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

Marshall was the first Chicago High School to win an IHSA state title in 1958, thirty years after Chicago Public School teams started to compete in the state tournament. Since that state title Marshall has gone on to win two more, 1960 & 2008, along with placing 3rd or 4th six times.

The girl’s team coached by the legendary Dorothy Gaters, the state’s all-time winningest coach in girls basketball, has a total of ten state titles and has finished at least in the top four ten other times in school history. With the first IHSA state championship for girls basketball happening in 1977, the Lady Commandos are just shy of a lifetime average of 50% of their seasons ending with them in the Final 4.

The scoreboard at Marshall High School’s basketball gym, in Chicago, March, 2019. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson).

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