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The winningest high school basketball programs of the decade: No. 10 Hillcrest

The Sun-Times is counting down the 50 high school basketball programs with the most wins during the decade.

Hillcrest’s Mar’Keise Irving (2) uses a head fake and then dribbles around a defender.
Hillcrest’s Mar’Keise Irving (2) uses a head fake and then dribbles around a defender.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

When high school basketball fans think back to the 1980s, programs like Quincy, Providence St. Mel, East St. Louis Lincoln and the arrival of city powers King and Simeon are easy to think back on.

The 1990s brought us memorable basketball giants in Peoria Manual and Thornton, a few steamrolling Proviso East teams and the continued dominance of King.

The first 10 years of the 2000s included Glenbrook North, Peoria High and the beginning of a Simeon juggernaut.

Earlier this year we broke down the decade’s best teams and best players. Now, with every season of the past decade complete, it’s time to look at the Chicago area programs who won the most.

This list is comprised of the 50 winningest programs over the past 10 years, starting with the 2010-11 season and concluding with the 2019-20 season. Every team in every class throughout the Chicago area will be broken down in a variety of ways. But total wins, with winning percentage used as tie-breaker, determined the rankings.

We present No. 10 Hillcrest today and will add one program a day going forward.

10. HILLCREST: 226-72

Decade’s biggest storyline: The previous decade ended with Hillcrest’s first-ever state championship, so following that up in the 2010s was always going to be difficult.

However, Hillcrest returned to Peoria two years later. That team, led by Jovan Mooring, won 25 games and finished third in the state in Class 3A. The Hawks lost to eventual state champ Peoria in the state semifinals before beating Springfield Lanphier to finish third.

Underrated decade highlight: Hillcrest won 20 or more games every single season in the decade and extended its streak of 20-plus win seasons to 23 straight years.

Player of the Decade: Julius Brown (2011)

All-Decade Team: Julius Brown (2011), Taylor Adway (2105), Jovan Mooring (2013), Marcus Garrett (2017) and Julius Rollins (2021)

Other decade news and highlights:

-The Hawks won eight regional championships in the decade and went on to win four sectional titles. The Hawks fell to Morgan Park in all three supersectionals (2013, 2015 and 2017) that they lost. Hillcrest did knock off Morgan Park in the sectional final in 2012, on the way to that third-place finish in Class 3A.

-Although Hillcrest’s remarkable conference win streak did end in 2016-17 –– the Hawks had won 28 straight conference championships –– it still won conference titles in nine of the past 10 seasons.