Aurora Christian devastated over season-ending news
Complete devastation followed by complete silence.
That's how Aurora Christian boys basketball coach Dan Beebe described the reaction of the eight boys basketball teams in Peoria for the Class 1A and 2A state finals when IHSA Assistant Executive Director Kurt Gibson told them in person Thursday evening the rest of the season was canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teams were summoned to a room within the Peoria Civic Center for a meeting they were told would be about logistics, Beebe said. The gist of it was their title runs ended without taking a shot.
"I hurt for the kids," said Beebe, the school's athletic director and fourth-year coach. "They did everything they possibly could to get here. But like I told them, we were blessed to even get this far."
Aurora Christian (25-6) was slated to face Madison (26-10) from suburban St. Louis in a Class 1A semifinal at 11 a.m. Friday. Instead, the Eagles will likely be on the bus home at that time after spending the night in Peoria.
Led by senior guard Taaj Davis (25.8 ppg), the Eagles racked up accomplishments.
In December they won the small-school tournament at the State Farm Holiday Classic in Bloomington.
Aurora Christian eventually finished in a three-way tie for the Metro Suburban Blue title with Chicago Christian and Riverside-Brookfield.
The Eagles won their last seven games, including Tuesday's 70-43 deconstruction of previously unbeaten and top-ranked Indian Creek (35-1) in a Class 1A supersectional at Northern Illinois.
"It's the seniors who you hurt for the most," Beebe said. "But their last basketball game they ever played in high school was against a team that was undefeated and number one and they beat them. They'll be able to hold that memory for the rest of their lives."