The Althoff Crusaders are on the verge of achieving something no other basketball team from Belleville has acheived before — a state championship.
With its win 82-74 win over Chicago Morgan Park in the IHSA 3A State Basketball Tournament semifinal Friday, Althoff is the first Belleville team to advance to a state title game, according to IHSA records dating to 1907.
The Crusaders will face Westchester St. Joseph for its shot at their city’s first crown Saturday at 2 p.m.
St. Joseph, champion of the Chicago Catholic League and alma mater of NBA great Isiah Thomas, handed Althoff one of its three losses this year in a double-overtime thriller at the O’Fallon Mid-Winter Classic, Feb. 7.
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Win or lose, the Crusaders’ basketball and state-champion dance teams will be feted at the school with a pep rally and parade, which will step off at noon Sunday.
The Belleville West Maroons of 1965-66 came the closest to bringing a boys basketball title to Belleville with their third-place finish.
Can’t make the trip to Peoria? There are several ways fans can follow the game:
Some local cable subscribers can pick the game up on the CSN Network. The channel varies by provider and by the packages to which you may subscribe. Charter will carry the game on channels 223 and 825.
The High School Sports Network broadcasts all games on the internet. A one-day subscriptions are available for $9.95. http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ihsa/23a7656202
Listen to streaming audio for free via Springfield’s Sports Radio 1450 AM. http://www.sportsradio1450.com/
Follow the action through live updates on the BND’s social media tool at www.bnd.com.
Or, get live updates on Twitter by following @NormSanders.