Trivia for state tournament fans

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Trivia for state tournament fans

Pat Heston is a minister in Cahokia, Illinois. In his spare time, he is a figure filbert, a historian of high school basketball in Illinois, a statistician who uncovers statistics that don't add up for anyone else.

In the wake of the 2011-12 boys state tournament, here are some updated facts that the Rev. Heston has uncovered, a treasure trove of trivia for all state tournament fans who have nothing better to do.

Simeon passed East St. Louis Lincoln for the best winning percentage in state tournament history. Simeon is 26-6, a winning percentage of .813. East St. Louis Lincoln is 20-5, a winning percentage of .800.

Bet you can't guess which school is third on the all-time list. Venice, which is 11-3, a winning percentage of .786.

After winning the Class 3A championship, Peoria Central climbed past Quincy into the No. 2 position on the list of the all-time most successful programs behind archrival Peoria Manual. Until recently, Quincy had ranked No. 1 but the Blue Devils haven't made a trip to the state finals since 2000.

During a period of 66 years, from Quincy's first appearance in the state tournament in 1934 to its last appearance in 2000, the program averaged one trip to the state finals every 2.2 years and claimed one trophy every five years. But the Blue Devils haven't qualified for the state finals in 12 years and haven't won a trophy in 14 years.

Despite Simeon's recent success, winning five state championships in the last seven years, the South Side school still trails Marshall as the Public League's winningest program in the state tournament. Marshall ranks No. 10 in the state, Simeon No. 13.

Moline remains the most successful program in state tournament history that hasn't won a state title. Others are Peoria Richwoods, New Trier and Bloom.

Peoria Spalding, which opened in 1899 and closed in 1988, maintains the highest winning percentage (.625) of all programs to never win a state title.

After Simeon, East St. Louis Lincoln and Venice, the top 10 schools with the highest winning percentage in state tournament competition are Whitney Young (10-3, .769), King (21-7, .750), Hales Franciscan (12.4, .750), Proviso East (25-10, .714), Thornridge (10-4, .714), Lawrenceville (29-13, .690) and Rockford (19-9, .679).

After Peoria Manual, Peoria Central and Quincy, the most successful programs in state tournament history based on appearances, victories and finishes are Thornton, Centralia, Decatur, West Aurora, Pinckneyville, Champaign Central and Chicago Marshall.

Finally, as an aside, basketball historian Butch Border of Centralia reports an update on the list of the nation's all-time winningest programs. Dobyns of Bennett, Tennessee, has won 2,124 games. Centralia is second with 2,103 followed by Collinsville with 2,005 and Quincy with 1,906.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Austin O'Connor

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Austin O'Connor

Four years, four state championships. 

That's what St. Rita senior wrestler Austin O'Connor accomplished over the past four years, becoming the 15th wrestler in IHSA history to do so. The Mustangs' grappler went undefeated this season and finished his IHSA career with a record of 181-4. 

O'Connor is planning on continuing his time on the mat at the University of North Carolina next season. Learn more about O'Connor in the video above. 

In the Gym at EFT: Vertical jump training

In the Gym at EFT: Vertical jump training

In the latest installment of In the Gym at EFT, performance specialist Kerry Neal teaches some valuable techniques to improve an athlete's vertical jump. 

Former Western Michigan Linebacker Grant DePalma gives an assist by demonstrating the drills. An athlete's vertical is an important tool and can be the difference during evaluation.

Learn some valuable tips above and be on the lookout for the next edition of In the Gym at EFT.