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 Monday, Sept. 15, the 258th day of 2014. There are 107 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: The Rock River Illinois conference of the Methodist Church will hold its annual sessions this week in this city. About 200 ministers are expected to attend. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Brush electric company had prepared a new schedule of rates to become effective Oct. 1, with slightly increased rates to consumers. 1914 — 100 years ago: The Rock Island Aerie of Eagles made plans for the laying of the cornerstone of a new $50,000 Eagles Home. W.C. Maucker is to be master of ceremonies. 1939 — 75 years ago: Col. Charles A. Lindbergh spoke on "America and Foreign War" in a neutrality debate over nation wide radio hook-up. 1964 — 50 years ago: Two awards of the National Safety council were presented to the city of Rock Island today at noon at a meeting held in the YWCA. 1989 — 25 years ago: The final tallies are not yet in for the summer 1989 Quad-Cities tourism season, but officials are expecting the number of visitors to the area to be at least as good as, if not better than, 1988.