Inductees A true pioneer for high school basketball in Illinois was the outstanding 1907-08 Peoria High School team which won the first state tournament ever held in Illinois.
The first state high school basketball tournament was an eight-team invitational affair at the Oak Park YMCA. Peoria High, coached by Les Straesser, a 1906 graduate of the school who also at the time was farming west of Peoria, had compiled a 14-1 regular season record.
Included in the 14 wins was a 105-23 thumping of Streator at the old Peoria YMCA on Jefferson Street. Peoria led 65-5 at halftime and Wilbur "Bill" Forrest scored 32 field goals. The team's only loss was 43-23 at the hands of Spalding. At the first state tournament, Peoria turned back Wheaton, 41-26, then disposed of Hinsdale, 32-25, and won the state title by pounding Rock Island, 48-29.
A true pioneer for high school basketball in Illinois was the outstanding 1907-08 Peoria High School team which won the first state tournament ever held in Illinois.
Howard Maple was one of the most amazing athletes ever to come out of Peoria. A football, basketball and baseball standout at Central High School, he went on to become a brilliant quarterback at Oregon State in the late 1920s and later played in both the National Football League and in major league baseball with the Washington Senators.