QUINCY -- The McDonald's/Herald-Whig Classic is suffering the same fate as most events planned for this summer.
The games won't be played.
The annual all-star basketball showcase featuring the top seniors from Illinois and Missouri scheduled for June 20 at Quincy University's Pepsi Arena has been put on a one-year hiatus. The decision was made to ensure the safety and well-being of those involved while state government and health officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19.
This would have been the 38th annual girls game and 37th annual boys game.
"We've had to forego holding this year's Classic out of an abundance of caution," said Ron Wallace, publisher of The Herald-Whig. "It became apparent from information provided by health officials this was the prudent thing to do. After much consternation and duress, we decided the best course of action was to cancel the event for this year."
Event organizers are making plans for the Classic's return on June 19, 2021, at Pepsi Arena.
"We will be back and want to carry on the long-standing tradition of these games," said Greg Shierling, owner of McDonald's at 13th and Broadway. "Right now, this makes the most sense."
The Classic rosters traditionally feature 40 total players -- 10 boys and girls from each state -- with an area coach in charge of each squad. Players commit to a handful of practices in the week leading up to the game and traditionally have made it a competitive and star-studded event.
"The real losers in this situation are the kids," Wallace said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them, and it has come and gone."
Last year, the Missouri boys, led by Hannibal's Dezi Jones and Monroe City's C.E. Talton, won for just the third time in Classic history with a 131-73 victory. It was the largest margin of victory in Classic history.
The Illinois boys lead the all-time series 33-3.
On the girls side, Missouri made it a Show-Me State sweep with a 70-52 victory. Illinois had won six of the preview seven meetings, but Missouri leads the overall series 20-17.