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 ‘50s-era West Warriors Continue to Support RPS 205

11/14/2018 8:00 AM

​Members of the Rockford West High School State Basketball Championship Teams from 1955 and 1956 – including players, managers and cheerleaders – continue to support RPS 205's annual Tip-Off Classic Basketball Tournament. Both teams, each with a 28-1 season, won the State title when there was only one class in Illinois and all schools participated in the same tournament. In 2016, team members initiated an annual award for the NIC-10 female and male basketball players with the highest free throw shooting percentage.

The West Warriors also invested in RPS 205 student-athletes by underwriting and financing the publication of "Warriors Forever," by Rockford author John Gile. "Warriors Forever" tells the story of coach Alex Saudargas, a school, community and players who went on to apply in life the same values that made them champions: resilience, resourcefulness, teamwork, character, perseverance, and a work ethic that overcomes every obstacle and setback. In fact, 10 of the 20 players on the team applied those principles learned as student-athletes to go on to achieve master's, law or medical degrees.

The book describes our community coming together during an event that made the river through Rockford disappear and joined every section of the city and every socioeconomic constituency in solidarity. No person who experienced it will ever forget. It is a story from our city's history we can preserve and retell with pride today and for generations to come.

The West Warriors will continue to support the student-athletes of today so they might have similar opportunities to succeed in life.

1955 and 1956 West High School basketball teams inducted into RPS 205 Athletic Hall of Fame at the 2013 Champions Ball.
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