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From left, Coach John Schneiter, Jim Hallihan, Jim ‘Bulldog’ Johnson, Jerry Hill, Ken Barnes, Lee Endsley and assistant coach Hal Prichard. In back, Gary Stewart, Prentis Jones, Jack Sunderlik, Ray Willett, Dave Hayes, Bruce Gray, Kent Ayers and assistant coach Jack Kenny. (H&R file photo)

The headline in huge letters across the top of the March 25, 1962, Sunday Herald & Review front page was "Decatur Captures State Title."

In column 8, the headline was "Reds Win 4th Crown 49-48 over Carver." The dateline was Champaign.

The story began: "Ken Barnes made a pressure-packed free throw with six seconds remaining tonight to give Stephen Decatur a 49-48 victory over Chicago Carver in the Illinois State High School basketball championship.

"It is the fourth state championship for the Reds, tying the record held by Mount Vernon. Decatur also won in 1931, 1936 and 1945 under the late Coach Gay Kintner."

On Friday night, Nov. 26, the champs will be honored during the 41st annual Team Soy Capital Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament in the Stephen Decatur Middle School gym.

The tournament theme is "Decatur celebrates Champs and Heroes," said Mel Roustio, who is in his ninth year as coordinator. The Stephen Decatur ceremony will be between games 7 and 8, at about 7:30 p.m.

Honored for volunteerism and community service will be Kevin Breheny, Vinnie and Debra Barbee, Jack and Joyce Keller, Ida Brooks and Caleb Jump. That ceremony will be at halftime of game eight. They were selected in a nominating process, Roustio said.

It is hoped that several members of the basketball champs will attend. Coach John Schneiter is ill and will not be here. Jerry Hill and Assistant Coach Jack Kenny have prior out-of-town engagements.

The champs trailed early. After Jim "Bulldog" Johnson tied the score at 48 by making two free throws with 1:42 minutes to go, Hill intercepted a pass from Carver's Bruce Raikett with about 40 seconds to go. Decatur controlled the ball until Barnes was fouled by Curtis Kirk in a melee around the basket. Barnes, the 6 foot 3 All-Stater, made the first free throw but missed the second.

Johnson, a 6-foot. 190-pounder who rebounded with the skill of Bill Russell, led the champs' scoring with 17 points and battled on the boards with Cazzie Russell, a future collegiate All-American, and 6 foot 6 Joe Allen. Russell scored 24 points,

Prentis Jones and Jim Hallihan, co-captain with Barnes, rounded out the starting lineup. The starting five played the entire game.

Team members included Jack Sunderlik, Lee Endsley, T.J. Jackson, George Helms, Gary Stewart, Ray Willett, Dave Hayes, Bruce Gray, Dale Peck and Kent Ayers. Hal Prichard was an assistant coach.

More than 5,000 turned out early Sunday morning to welcome the champs in Kintner Gym. Barnes responded: "The boys just didn't give up when we were 10 points behind in the first half." Barnes went on to play at the University of Wisconsin and coached in Rockford.

The champs finished with a 31-4 record, including a 41-40 squeaker over Urbana in the super-sectional and victories over Rock Island 61-56 and over Quincy 47-44 in Huff Gym. It was the last state tournament played in Huff Gym.

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