The inaugural "High School Hoops Showdown" attracted 5,442 fans to the Rockford MetroCentre on Saturday, January 10, 1998. It featured four of the top teams in the Midwest, and the defending state champions from Wisconsin and Illinois. It was a big-time event for Rockford as evidenced by the fact that the Pre-Event Press Conference (01-07-98) was carried Live by WROK-AM during The Sports Guy Show with host, Chris Clark.
In Game 1, Rockford-Boylan (14-1 and ranked #6 in the AP Poll) defeated Chicago-Westinghouse (they began the season at 9-0) by a score of 72-70. Boylan needed a super effort from C Damir Krupalija (Illinois) and he delivered with 24 pts. and 23 rebounds against an undersized group of Warriors whose tallest player was 6-4 Andre Wiggins (Chicago State) who had 15 pts. and 13 boards.
Game 1, the "Battle at the Border", matched Milwaukee-Vincent --- the two-time defending Wisconsin state champions, who came in undefeated and ranked #9 by USA Today --- against Peoria-Manual (12-1), the four-time defending Illinois champs and mythical national champion. In an unbelievable finish, Manual stunned the "Vikings" 52-51 on a buzzer-beating, three-point shot by Frankie Williams (Illinois/Denver Nuggets). Williams would go on the win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award that season.
The first City-Suburban Showdown attracted 7,224 fans to Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena (capacity 8,160) on a night where temperatures reached 14ᵒ below zero and -51ᵒ wind chill factor. In Game 1, Deerfield upset Chicago-ML King 59-56. Deerfield's Ryan Hogan had a game high 25 pts. In Game 2, Chicago-Farragut beat Glenbrook North 55-48. Ronnie Fields led all scorers with 24 pts.
Showdown Covers History
A trip down memory lane. Featured below are Souvenir Game Program covers from our past events.
Click on the program covers to see bigger size.