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.
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. 42 St. Joseph today and will add one program a day going forward.
42. ST. JOSEPH: 187-121
Decade’s biggest storyline: The passing of Gene Pingatore, a legendary basketball figure and the all-time winningest coach in state history, was one of the state’s biggest basketball stories of the entire decade.
Pingatore was set to begin his 51st season at Joseph, where he won 1,035 games, a pair of state championships and guided the Chargers to six top four state finishes. But the iconic and respected Pingatore passed away suddenly in the summer of 2019.
Underrated decade highlight: The sad and shocking news of Pingatore’s sudden passing was such a huge story across the state, that it leaves the 2015 state championship in the underrated highlight category. Led by the trio of Glynn Watson, Jordan Ash and Nick Rakocevic, the Chargers beat Belleville Althoff 67-63 in the Class 3A state championship.
Player of the Decade: Nick Rakocevic (2016)
All-Decade Team: Joe Edwards (2011), Reggie Johnson (2012), Glynn Watson (2015), Jordan Ash (2015), Nick Rakocevic (2016)
Other decade news and highlights:
–The 2015-16 team, led by Rakocevic, won 25 games and finished fourth in the state in Class 3A.
-A significant milestone was attained and plenty of hoopla followed Pingatore winning his 1,000th game, a February win over St. Rita in 2017.
-St. Joe’s won five regional titles in the decade and Catholic League titles in 2014 and 2015.
-Watson emerged as an all-stater in 2015 before a terrific career at Nebraska, while Rakocevic had a solid career at USC.