TriCounty Repeating as Tri-County male Athlete of the Year, Peoria Manual high school star Sergio McClain simply drove the Rams to their fourth consecutive state championship in Carver Arena last March.
Voted Mr. Basketball for the 1996-97 season, McClain overcame a shoulder injury to drive his Ram teammates to yet another state crown.
With Harvey Thornton threatening to oust Manual in the semi-final game, McClain ignored his injury to lead the Rams on a 25-1 run in nine and a half minutes, scoring 11 points in a row during one stretch.
He was named to every All-State team in the state and was named to play in the Magic Roundball Classic.
The Peoria Journal Star declared Sergio was the "most successful prep basketball player in United States history."
McClain is now a key part of the University of Illinois basketball team as a freshman.
Repeating as Tri-County male Athlete of the Year, Peoria Manual high school star Sergio McClain simply drove the Rams to their fourth consecutive state championship in Carver Arena last March.
1947 Pekin Basketballl Team
Row 1: left to right, Mgr. Jim Lee, Bert Van Horn, Dave Hughes, Jack Miller, Chuck Busby, Herb Gerecke, John Rose.
The 1947 and 1948 Pekin Basketball Teams had many similarities at the time. Both teams were led by head coach Jim Lewis and assistant coach John Moss. Both teams won more games combined (59) in a two year period than any other Pekin teams at that time. Six players; Don Ehrett, Herb Gerecke, Howie Harris, Bert Van Horn, Chuck Busby, and Jay Nelson played on both squads that placed 4th in state in 1947 and 3rd in state in 1948. Both teams were their respective season’s Greater Peoria Conference Champs and were ranked in the top ten in the regular season basketball poll; #10 in 1947 and #1 in 1948. In 1948, Herb Gerecke was named to the Chicago Daily News all-state team and 6-2 senior, Chuck Busby (top vote getter), Bob Watson, Jay Nelson, and Herb Gerecke were voted to the all-state tournament squad.