Kevante Curry (left) hugs his father Kenny Curry after the ceremony honoring the North Chicago High School boys basketball team at the North Chicago City Hall. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
When March Madness rolls around in 2013, it will mark the 106th year of high-school boys-basketball tournament play in the state of Illinois.
In the first 105 years, ZERO teams from Lake County have hoisted the state-championship trophy into the air on the final day of the season.
If the drought ends next March, and it’s ended by the North Chicago Warhawks, anyone and everyone who drives through the city is going to know it.
North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham Jr. reminded the players and coach King Coleman on Monday that the city will paint the water tower so that everyone who can see it will know that North Chicago is the prep basketball capital of Lake County.
The Warhawks were honored guests at the City Council meeting on Monday as the community celebrated the team’s second consecutive appearance in the Final Four state tourney in Peoria and its second-place finish in the Class 3A tournament.
They received a standing ovation from the council and citizens present when they entered the council chambers.
(The room was jammed, though not everyone was there to see the basketball players, as the city has some serious work to do on several fronts in coming weeks.)
The players were awarded personalized medals for, as Rockingham said, “not only what they’ve accomplished, but what they represent to the city.”
Members of the North Chicago coaching and support staff, as well as school administrators also received medals.
“These gentlemen did an excellent job representing North Chicago,” said Rockingham. “The competence they show on the court and off the court, I heard about it in the stadium and I heard about it in the hotel. There was nothing but praise for our boys.”
Reverend Torrance Abrams, an alderman, who also serves as the team’s chaplain, recognized senior Denzal Terrell and presented him with a plaque for some of the personal trials he overcame over the past two seasons.
“He was an inspiration to me,” said Rev. Abrams. “Sometimes it takes these kids to inspire us.”
Warhawks coach King Coleman knows his team can set two county records next spring:
■ First county state champion.
■ First county team to bring home a Final Four trophy from state in three straight seasons.
But it’s all about hard work, and that’s up to the players.
“All of these kids are involved in something and working hard. We have kids in the weight room and playing AAU. Some of them are running track,” King said.
“I’m very impressed right now. They’re excited. They’ve tasted it, and they want more. In the past, I’ve had to stop guys and ask, ‘Why aren’t you doing this? Why aren’t you doing that?’ These guys are already doing it.”
And if they do it well enough, you’ll be able to read all about it ... on the city water tower.