The Iowa side got the state trophies this prep basketball season.
Yet, Illinois earned the boys' bragging rights again in the campaign-ending Iowa-Illinois Senior All-Star Showcase.
Led by a quartet of double-figure scorers from Western Big 6 Conference champ Rock Island, Lincoln Land rolled past the Hawkeye State, 87-69 Monday in the 14th annual event at Augustana College's Carver Center.
In the end, Rocky sixth-man Trae Babers earned MVP honors from the coaches and media over starting teammates Brian Richardson, Raahsaan Brown and Robert Johnson from the sectional finalists.
"The best kept secret in the Quad-Cities," Brown raved about Babers, who posted an all-around line of 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists. "Trae was big for us this season and proved that (Monday) night."
Brown was pretty good, too, finishing with 12 points, including a couple of baskets down the stretch that halted an Iowa comeback bid.
Richardson (game-high 17 points) and Johnson (10 points, 8 rebounds) also made strong bids for the MVP award, with the Rocky foursome pairing up at times to power Illinois' second straight win in the series and eighth overall.
Brown also nearly won the halftime dunk contest, emerging with the highest score from the preliminaries before pulling up lame on his first attempt in the finals against Burlington's Justin Randle.
"My knee started giving out on me. But I gave it a little break and it was good to go in the second half," said Brown, who hopes to play next winter at Freeport's Highland Community College. "It was all for fun anyway so it didn't bother me that much. We got what we wanted anyway. We went out together with a bang."
Babers especially. The guard started all of four games during Rocky's 25-5 season.
"If I had an open shot, I'd take it, but I was looking to pass first and get my teammates involved," said Babers, who knocked down a 3-pointer with 12:45 remaining to key a decisive 15-3 second-half run. "Before the game, looking at the rosters, a lot of people were saying they were going to beat us by 20 points. But that just fired us up to come out and prove them wrong."
Team Iowa boasted players from state-place winners Bettendorf (second in Class 4A) and Assumption (fourth in 3A), but Team Illinois had the Rocks on the floor together at times.
"It worked to our advantage because we all know each other so well, our strengths and weaknesses," said Babers, who is choosing between small-schools Monmouth, Knox and Aurora for college hoops. "We just had fun playing together one last time. It's bittersweet right now. But everything has to come to an end eventually."
Geneseo's 6-foot-7 Austin Frank (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Galesburg's Ryan Carl (10 boards) also helped the Illinoisans to a commanding 68-43 edge on the glass.
Pleasant Valley's Kain Artofer (12 points) and Assumption's Truman State-signed Billy Daniel (11 points) paced Team Iowa.
Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass. 1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links. 1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned. 1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today. 1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.