Historic Hoops

A Regional Championship to end a great season


Photography, Tony Kendrick

The boy’s basketball team can hold their head high after their stellar season. Although the seniors might have played their last game, they can leave knowing they were part of one of the most successful seasons in Herrin’s history.

The Tigers basketball season can be described with just one word: outstanding. The Tigers finished their season 27-5, going 8-1 at home and 5-0 on the road. They lost only once after the new year in the opening round of the IHSA sectionals to East St. Louis.


Though they had a rocky start at the Pyramid plus tournament, they turned their season around quickly, winning the next eight games in a row before losing to Fairfield in the Eldorado Holiday Tournament. After that loss, they seemed unstoppable. The Tigers won the next 16 games, going  9-0 in the conference to win their first conference championship in 46 years, and then defeating Belleville Althoff to win their first 3A Regional Championship. Sadly, East St. Louis was just too much, beating the Tigers 61-52.


In only his second season at HHS, Coach Sayler Shurtz has taken the basketball team farther than it has gone in a long time. Talking about how hard they practiced, he said that the team put in a lot of work. “Starting back in the summer, we got really focused, went different places, went out of state, and challenged ourselves from the beginning. I knew we had a very experienced crew, and some good ball players and we just wanted to challenge ourselves and we did that everyday in practice… We got after it every single day.”


When it came to the last few games of the season, Shurtz said “We turned it on. I thought we played some of our best basketball in our last couple games. We knew East St. Louis would be a challenge… We thought we had a good game plan going in, the coaching staff got together. The guys were not intimidated, not scared, of the type of program they had. I thought they played an excellent game, one of the best games of the year.”


Finally, Shurtz talked about how happy he was with the season. “You look how it stacks up against the basketball history of Herrin, I think they are one of the better teams that have walked through this high school. If you look at their record, they won 27 games, they won a conference championship, a regional championship, the mid-winter tournament. They have a lot of accolades. You look at it, they’re a pretty amazing group of kids, one through fifteen, that accomplished a lot of things that haven’t been done in a while here.”


With that, the Tiger basketball season comes to a close. A season that will go down in the history books. A team with players who gave it their all, day in and day out. A year that many will call outstanding.


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