Moline to play for Class 4A state title, looks to give WB6 its third champion since league’s inception

March 10, 2023 - Champaign, Illinois - Moline head coach Sean Taylor shouts instruction to his players during the second half. Taylor and the Maroon basketball team advanced to Saturday's Class 4A championship game after beating Downers Grove North 50-36 on Friday. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Moline boys basketball coach Sean Taylor shouts instructions to his team during Friday's Class 4A state semifinal victory over Downers Grove North at State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. | Photo courtesy Clark Brooks, PhotoNews Media

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Moline boys basketball coach Sean Taylor delivered one final message to his team in the locker room Friday night before the Maroons left State Farm Center and headed back to their hotel.

“We didn’t come here to get second,” he said.

The Maroons earned the chance to make that reality.

A sizzling start offensively in which Brock Harding made his first three 3-point attempts and scored 14 first-quarter points gave Moline control of the Class 4A state semifinal. From there, defense did the rest, holding Downers Grove North to 32.5 percent shooting in the Maroons’ 50-36 victory.

It sets up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown for the state championship.

The second-ranked Maroons (34-3) will face top-ranked Lisle Benet Academy (35-1) at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in the Class 4A title game. Moline hasn’t played for a state championship since 1951 and has never won a title in program history.

In fact, it would be just the third state championship for a Western Big 6 Conference program since the league was formed prior to the 1969-70 season. Moline is last of the original six conference schools to reach a title game since the league’s inception and the eighth overall.

Here are WB6 schools and the years they played for state titles:

• East Moline/United Township — 1970;

• Quincy — 1972, 1979, 1981;

• Rock Island Alleman — 1989;

• Galesburg — 1998;

• Rock Island — 2011.

Quincy in 1981 and Rock Island in 2011 are the only ones to win state titles.

Overall, WB6 schools have played for state titles 19 times since the state tournament series began in 1908 when Rock Island lost to Peoria in the title game. Galesburg won the state championship in 1913 and Quincy won the state title in 1934.

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