QUINCY — A link to one of the greatest eras of high school basketball in state history and four members of an area girls basketball dynasty highlight the latest class of inductees for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The IBCA released its 2021 Hall of Fame class Monday with five players, two friends of basketball, one media member and one organization from this area part of the historic group.
The 49th induction class are scheduled to be honored during the organization’s annual banquet in May. Dates and location are to be determined. Last year’s banquet was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic and plans are in place to honor both classes next spring.
Those being honored include former Quincy High School assistant coach Mike Hellenthal, Southeastern graduate Brad Eaton and four Carthage girls basketball products — McKensey (Long) Green, Lexanne (Dickerson) Darwent, Danielle (Hibbard) Surprenant and Megan (Shirey) Carlisle – as well as former WTAD broadcaster Jeff Myers and Quincy contributor John Groves.
Quincy Media and the Oakley family are being honored as one of the three organizations of the year. This is the first time the IBCA has honored organizations. The Champaign News-Gazette and the Illinois High School Association are the other recipients.
Hellenthal, who passed away in May, spent 15 seasons as an assistant basketball coach at Quincy High School, sitting on the bench with both Sherrill Hanks and Jerry Leggett. The Blue Devils won the 1981 Class AA state championship, four state trophies and 336 games during that stretch. Hellenthal, who is a member of the Quincy Blue Devils Sports Hall of Fame, also served as athletic director at Galesburg and Dixon.
Eaton starred at Southeastern in the mid-1980s, leading the Suns to a 22-5 record as a senior in 1985 when he scored 23.1 points per game. He was a third-team all-state selection and first-team all-area pick who was the Suns’ all-time leading scorer when he graduated with 1,570 points. He went on to play at Culver-Stockton College.
Green was a two-time Herald-Whig Player of the Year who was a first-team all-state selection from both the Associated Press and the IBCA and a finalist for Illinois Ms. Basketball in 2007. She graduated as Carthage’s all-time leading scorer with 1,895 points. She became a first-team All-American at Kirkwood Community College.
Darwent led the Bluegirls to a 27-8 record and a third-place finish at the Class A state tournament in 2004 when she averaged 16 points per game, earning first-team all-state honors from the Associated Press and the IBCA and second-team honors from the Champaign News-Gazette. She was 2004 Herald-Whig Player of the year.
Surprenant averaged 17.2 points and seven rebounds per game as a senior, leading Carthage to a 24-9 season and the Class A state quarterfinals while being named the 2003 Herald-Whig Player of the Year. She went on to star at John Wood Community College, where she scored 823 points in two seasons and is among the career leaders in points, rebounds and steals. She is a member of the JWCC Hall of Fame.
Carlisle was an all-area forward on the 2004 Carthage team that finished third at the Class A state tournament, averaging 15.5 points and 7.1 rebounds. She enjoyed a Hall of Fame career at John Wood Community College, where she was a two-time all-conference and all-region selection before becoming an NAIA All-American as a senior at Cardinal Stritch University.
Myers worked at WTAD in the late 1970s and early 1980s and joined Mike Lawrence as the co-host of “Sports Rap.” Since 1989, he’s been the play-by-play voice of high school football and basketball in the Elgin area. He is a member of the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame.
Groves has been involved in the behind-the-scenes success of the QHS boys basketball program for decades, serving on the QHS Thanksgiving Tournament committee and as a past tournament chairman. He also assists the Blue Devil mascot with the pre-game routine.