1980 Bergan Basketball Team
Front row: Left to right, Pat Thomas, Tom Gilles, Steve Wittig, Rich Amberg, Bob Schermer, Casey Welch and Steve Franks.
Back row: Left to right, Coach Keeling, Tim Sack, Mike OÕBrien, Paul Kupfert, Scott McCabe, John Ruffin, Rob Carrino, Brad Zevnik, Coach Carlson and Coach Crabtree.
Typically a mid-to-lower level team in the rugged Mid-State 10 Conference, Bergan, the smaller of Peoria’s two Catholic high schools had a good team in ’79-’80. Led by 6-foot-7 junior center Scott McCabe and 6-1 senior guard Tom Gilles, Bergan finished 11-7 in the conference, including season sweeps of Manual and rival Spalding.
When the postseason brackets were announced, Bergan had slipped into Class A. Its enrollment of 723 was 27 below the A/AA cutoff. Bergan blazed through the Dunlap Regional with victories over the host Eagles (84-62), Elmwood (68-51) and Peoria Heights (82-44). Bergan stormed the Bushnell Sectional, toppling Sciota Northwestern (68-38) and Monmouth (74-61).
Their five postseason wins were by an average of 24 points. Things weren't so easy in the Moline Supersectional, though. The Trojans faced Sterling Newman (23-5), but Bergan came out on top 56-55. It was the defining moment for a magical season.
The Trojans advanced to the Class A Elite Eight, where they defeated Gibson City, 66-55, in the state quarterfinals in Champaign. A 57-51 win over Madison in the semifinals put Bergan in its first state title game, where it fell to Chicago Luther South, 56-51.Their final record was 23-9. Their second place in State was Bergan’s best in school history.