Jacobs senior Cameron Krutwig (24) back down Bartlett’s Jason Hasenberg (24). | Sun-Times file photo
The Sun-Times is counting down the 50 high school basketball programs with the most wins during the decade. 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.
Earlier this year we broke down the decade’s best teams and best players. Now, with every season of the past decade complete, it’s time to look at the Chicago area programs who won the most.
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. 40 Zion-Benton today and will add one program a day going forward.
40. JACOBS: 188-116
Decade’s biggest storyline: The decade produced the school’s first and only sectional championship in 2017.
The Golden Eagles won a school record 30 games. Jacobs beat Rockton-Hononegah and rolled Larkin to win the Elgin Sectional before falling to Fremd in a 36-35 super-sectional overtime heartbreaker.
Underrated decade highlight: In the biggest win in school history, the program’s best player provided a herculean effort. Cameron Krutwig was one assist shy of a quadruple-double with 20 points, 23 rebounds, 11 blocks and nine assists in a sectional final win over Larkin.
Player of the Decade: Cameron Krutwig (2017)
All-Decade Team: Chris Orange (2015), Cameron Krutwig (2017), Ryan Phillips (2018), Nik Balkcom (2018) and Jaden Henderson (2020)
Other decade news and highlights:
-After 17 pretty successful seasons in elevating the program, coach Jim Hinkle retired following the 2012-13 season. The Christmas tournament at Jacobs is now called the Hinkle Holiday Classic. Jimmy Roberts took over and put together the most successful run in program history, averaging 21 wins a season over the past seven years.
-Fox Valley Conference dominance over the course of four years (2014-2018) included a remarkable 51-1 record in conference play for the Golden Eagles.
-Krutwig is without question the Player of the Decade and arguably the greatest player in school history. The numbers speak for themself. He finished with 93 career wins, scored 1,528 career points, had 26 double-doubles as a senior and became the all-time leading rebounder in program history –– and top 10 in state history.
-A year after leading Jacobs to its greatest season, Krutwig was instrumental in helping Loyola to a historical Final Four run as a freshman.
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