On Friday and Saturday, March 8 & 9, the IHSA and the Special Olympics of Illinois co-sponsored the annual High School Unified State Basketball Tournament at the ARC on the campus of the University of Illinois. 8 teams from throughout Illinois competed in two divisions. The 2024 Unified Division I Champs are the Vernon Hills Storm coached by Deborah Beagle; and for the second straight season, the Division II winners are the Southside/De La Salle Meteors coached by former De La Salle boys varsity coach and IBCA Hall of Famer, Tom White.

Division I teams include runners-up Bartonville Limestone Rockets coached by Stacey Seals, consolation champs VJ Andrew Thunderbolts coached by Nowal Shalash, and the North Boone Vikings coached by Melisa Ford.

Teams in Division II were the 2nd place finishers Vaughn/St. Patrick Eagles coached by Louis Rachmaciej, consolation winners Bradley Bourbonnais Boilermakers coached by Samantha Soosh, and the East St. Louis Flyers coached by Kelvin Rogers, Jr.
Congratulations to all the teams competing in the State Tournament as well as all of the teams in district play.

A special thank you to all of the officials who worked the Unified State Tournament and to Special Olympics Director Jen Kelso and IHSA Assistant Director Dan Le.

What is Unified Basketball?

A Unified Basketball team is made up of 3 Special Olympics athletes and 2 Unified Partners on the court at one time. The maximum roster for a team is 15 which includes Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners. Regular High School basketball rules are observed.

A special thank you to the Special Olympics of Illinois, the IHSA, coaches, parents, volunteers, and officials for their time and efforts. Check out the digital program on the IHSA website.