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1908 Peoria Central Basketball Team

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.