As first reported by the Sun-Times, the Illinois High School Association announced Saturday that the state finals tournaments for all four classes of boys basketball are staying in Peoria for the next five years.
Carver Arena in Peoria has hosted the tournament for the past 20 years. The State Farm Center in Champaign and Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates were the other bidders for the tournament.
The IHSA board vote for Peoria was unanimous.
“We have built strong traditions in Normal and Peoria,” said IHSA Board President Dan Klett. “There is incredible support from the venues, communities and volunteers for both of these tournaments. We were grateful to have excellent alternatives, but it was clear to our Board that remaining at Redbird Arena and Carver Arena were the best options for the IHSA and its member schools.”
Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin, who appeared in a video the city of Peoria produced to promote the tournament in Peoria, is thrilled with the decision.
“I hope it was (my appearance) that convinced them,” said Irvin. “It should stay in Peoria. They have stuff to do for little kids and the atmosphere is nice.”
Attendance for all four classes has declined recently, leading to speculation that the tournaments would move to a destination closer to the state’s population base (Hoffman Estates) or return to the traditional host (Champaign).