Peoria basketball teams are getting hot at the end of the season. Bradley won the MVC Tournament and the Manual Rams earned a spot in this weekend’s IHSA March Madness. The community rallied behind the Rams prior to their sendoff from Manual this morning.
Manual has a rich history of basketball with 5 state championships including 4 in a row from 1994-1997. Now they are rolling into Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center. “It’s just been exciting, it’s like a whirlwind. I liken it almost to my wedding day, only this is almost more exciting,” said Manual Principal Betty Zilkowski. The school gathered to send the team off as the left for their final practice before Friday’s game. “Their win is everybody’s win. Not just for the students and the school but for the community,” added Zilkowski.
To allow students to attend the 1 pm game, Manual will be observing a “Anytime, Anywhere” school day. “We put in place opportunities for the kids to do their work tomorrow anytime, anywhere. They can come to school to get their work done here, or they can do it at home. That gives them the opportunity to go to the game in the afternoon,” explained Zilkowski.
IHSA March Madness is in it’s 24th year at Carver Arena. The hometown Rams stopped selling tickets at the school at noon Thursday. Peoria Civic Center marketing manager Andrew Barra says tickets will still be available to the public at the civic center box office. And he expects great crowds adding, “A lot of schools that are coming have a good fan base. I know Peoria is going to be well represented with Manual.”