CHICAGO (CBS) — While most of the nation has been focused on the NCAA Tournament, three Chicago Public Schools won state championships in basketball in the past two weeks.
High school basketball is divided into four classes in Illinois, and CPS teams won three of those titles this year.
Whitney Young Magnet High School took home the title in the Class 4A championship game Saturday, defeating fellow CPS team Simeon Career Academy, 60-50 in overtime, after twice losing to Simeon in the regular season.
Screaming fans greeted the team as they returned home Sunday, as the Dolphins showed off their championship trophy. It was the fourth state title for Whitney Young.
Parents and students showed their support at the big game Saturday and again at Sunday’s pep rally.
Players and their coach said the cheers made all the difference.
“We heard you in those stands, and your energy propelled us to victory. So I want to give all our fans a big round of applause, because you guys are phenomenal,” coach Tyrone Slaughter said.
Whitney Young wasn’t the only CPS team taking home a trophy from the state championships in Peoria this month.
Morgan Park High School won the Class 3A championship on Saturday, defeating Fenwick High School, 69-67 in overtime. It was the Mustangs’ third state title in five years and fourth overall.
The Orr Academy High School basketball team won its first-ever state championship on March 11 in the Class 2A title game, defeating the Mt. Carmel High School team from far southern Illinois.
It was an emotional homecoming for the team. At the beginning of the season, the team coach said the outlook was bleak for the Spartans, but with tremendous dedication to practice, the championship dream became a reality.
Spartans forward Dannie Smith overcame tremendous obstacles during the season, having lost two friends to gun violence and an uncle who died from a heart attack.