When high school basketball fans think back to the 1980s, programs like Quincy, Providence St. Mel, East St. Louis Lincoln and the arrival of city powers King and Simeon are easy to think back on.
The 1990s brought us memorable basketball giants in Peoria Manual and Thornton, a few steamrolling Proviso East teams and the continued dominance of King.
The first 10 years of the 2000s included Glenbrook North, Peoria High and the beginning of a Simeon juggernaut.
Now, with the calendar inching closer to wrapping up an unforgettable 2020, the end of this month closes out another decade. And it’s another high school basketball time period to look back on.
This list is comprised of the 50 winningest programs over the past 10 years, starting with the 2010-11 season and concluding with the 2019-20 season. Every team in every class throughout the Chicago area will be broken down in a variety of ways. But total wins, with winning percentage used as tie-breaker, determined the rankings.
We present No. 41 Zion-Benton today and will add one program a day going forward.
41. ZION-BENTON: 187-109
Decade’s biggest storyline: Following the best decade (2000-2010) in program history, which saw the Zee-Bees average 25 wins a year with seven regional and three sectional titles, including a second-place Class 4A finish in 2008, the high-level, it was the individual talent took an even bigger step forward in the past decade.
There were five Division I players this decade compared to just one right out of high school the previous decade.
Zion-Benton’s Division I players in the decade: Milik Yarbrough (Saint Louis and Illinois State), Admiral Schofield (, Rod Henry-Hayes (Northern Illinois) and Damontae Taylor (Wisconsin-Green Bay), while Amar Augillard is on his way to being a Division I player.
Underrated highlight: Milik Yarbrough finished among the top 20 scorers in state history with 2,621 career points –– and the all-time leading scorer in Lake County history.
Player of the Decade: Milik Yarbrough (2014)
All-Decade Team: Milik Yarbrough (2014), Admiral Schofield (2015), Rod Henry-Hayes (2017), Damontae Taylor (2020) and Amar Augillard (2021)
Other decade news and highlights:
-Admiral Schofield starred at Tennessee, became a second-round NBA draft pick and played last season for the Washington Wizards.
-Zion-Benton, a No. 5 regional seed last season, pulled off a minor upset with a 51-49 regional championship win over fourth-seeded Libertyville before the pandemic hit.