Gwendolyn Brooks (Ill.) College Preparatory Academy's boy's basketball team will play for the school's first state semifinal on Friday, but fans who witnessed the Eagles' Supersectional victory against Lindlom (Ill.) High can be forgiven for wondering if it was really Brooks that won the game. After all, the Eagles were wearing another school's uniforms.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, both of which were in attendance, both Brooks and Lindblom showed up at the Illinois Class 3A Joliet Central Supersectional with only their home uniforms. As it turns out, the Eagles were penciled in as the game's "road" team, which means they should have been wearing away uniforms.
Since they weren't, Brooks was forced to contest the most important playoff game in school history while wearing the road uniforms of Joliet Central, which you can see in the photo above.
"It wasn't [the team managers'] fault," Brooks coach Bobby Locke told the Sun-Times. "We've had so many distractions. The school is excited and it's hard not to get caught up in all that. But to their credit, they shook it off in the third quarter."
Yet the uniform error was more than just a technicality, too. To be more precise, it was worth a technical.
Brooks was handed a technical foul for the erroneous duds before the game started, with Lindblom hitting both to take a 2-0 lead before the game had even tipped off. The momentum from that bizarre pregame 2-0 lead carried over until nearly three minutes into the second period, when Brooks star and Wisconsin-signee George Marshall used a barrage of deep shots to lift the Eagles into a 22-19 lead which they never relinquished in a 61-42 victory.
"We thought we were the home team since we were the No.1 seed," Marshall told the Tribune. "They took us by surprise (to start). We got it together in the second half."
The Eagles won the game, and advanced on to the state round for the first time in school history, where Brooks will face Rock Island in Peoria. And this time, Brooks head coach Bobby Locke ensured fans that he would bring all three of his team's uniforms to ensure that his team wouldn't face another deficit from the outset.
"We are bringing all three uniforms," Locke told the Tribune. "And we will carry those with us the rest of the way."