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Columns

Plano Yesteryear: Plano HS and the Little 10 Basketball Tournament

1945-46 boys basketball team: First row: Coach Stephens, Jim Parrish, Ed Kolka, John Gilpatrick, Bill Nelson, John Landis, Bill Brown, Jerry Wiley, Owen Cooper, Pete Kivitts. Second row includes Bernard Benoit, Leland Lueschen, Harold Stein, Luther Walker, Bill Gray, Jeff Stone, Harold Hanson and Edward Smith.
1945-46 boys basketball team: First row: Coach Stephens, Jim Parrish, Ed Kolka, John Gilpatrick, Bill Nelson, John Landis, Bill Brown, Jerry Wiley, Owen Cooper, Pete Kivitts. Second row includes Bernard Benoit, Leland Lueschen, Harold Stein, Luther Walker, Bill Gray, Jeff Stone, Harold Hanson and Edward Smith.

Plano was an original member of the Little 10 conference, formed in 1919.

The inaugural basketball tournament held in 1920 saw Plano beat Waterman (23-20) but succumb to the eventual champions, Sandwich (22-20). Other teams included Leland, Somonauk, Rollo, Hinckley and Paw Paw. Shabbona and Earlville were conference members but did not participate in the tournament.

Plano’s only Little 10 Tournament champions were the 1946 and 1947 squads. In 1946, the purple and white beat Hinckley (54-28), Leland (47-29), Rollo (50-32) and Paw Paw (38-33). Playing in the championship game for PHS were Bill Nelson, John Landis, John Billingham, John Gilpatrick, Jerry Wiley and Bill Brown.

The next year they beat Serena (40-34), Hinckley (44-37) and Sandwich (38-28). Lead by Bill Nelson’s 22 points, Plano downed Somonauk (31-30) in the 1947 title game.

In 1939, 1949 and 1962, the Reapers fell in the championship game to Waterman (25-23 OT), Waterman (57-41) and Shabbona (73-57), respectively. Tying Waterman with a 9-1 record, the only regular season championship won by Plano was also in 1949.

The Reapers’ last year in the Little 10 was 1967. The next year, Plano joined the NorthEast Conference, and in the 1979-80 school year joined the I-8 Conference.

The caption in the 1946 yearbook lists eight names for players in the second row; however, there are 11 team members in that row. If anyone can identify the team members in the back row, contact Plano Historical Society President Bob Hausler at 630-552-3210 or bhausler@cityofplanoil.org.

Check out the Plano Historical Society Facebook page for more photos and meeting schedule.

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