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.
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. 34 Loyola today and will add one program a day going forward.
34. LOYOLA: 201-104
Decade’s biggest storyline: The 2013-14 sectional championship team went 25-6, ultimately falling to top-ranked Young and Jahlil Okafor in the super-sectional. The special cohesion of that team, featuring the three-guard attack of Jack Morrissey, Kevin Kucera and James Clarke, led the Ramblers past New Trier and Maine South to win just the third sectional title in program history.
Underrated highlight: This is one of those weird spots where underrated and depressing go together. Putting it bluntly, the final team of the decade, the 2019-20 group that dominated defensively and won a school record 30 games, just didn’t get a chance to finish things out.
This was a group that completely bought in to everything coach Tom Livatino sold them, especially on the defensive end and relishing whatever role each player had to fill. The Ramblers were playing at an extremely high level going into their sectional title game matchup with Evanston before the pandemic shut everything down.
Player of the Decade: Jack Morrissey (2014)
All-Decade Team: Jack Morrissey (2014), Kevin Kucera (2014), James Clarke (2014), Ramar Evans (2017) and Connor Barrett (2019)
Other decade highlights:
-The Ramblers won or shared Catholic League titles in 2013, 2014 and 2020.
-Loyola captured five regional championships in the decade, including a run of four straight to close out the decade.
-Since the 2013-14 season the program spent late December in warm weather climates (Florida and Arizona) during holiday tournament time. The Ramblers, who won three holiday tournaments, played five years in Florida and twice in Arizona.
-Jack Morrissey finished his career as the second leading scorer in school history and the all-time leading three-point shooter.
-The decade produced three 1,000-plus point scorers in Jack Morrissey, James Clarke and Ramar Evans.
-Loyola basketball has now averaged 20 wins a year for two straight decades. The 201 victories in the decade edged the previous decade win total by one as the Ramblers went 200-90 from 2001-2010