July 14, 2024
Illinois High School Sports

Girls basketball: IHSA state finals staying in Bloomington-Normal

Nazareth Academy's Danielle Scully (23) attempts to block a shot by Loyola Academy's Paige Engels (33) during the IHSA Class 4A Girls Basketball championship game Saturday, March 2, 2024 at the CEFCU Arena in Normal.

The IHSA girls basketball state tournament will remain at CEFCU Arena on the Illinois State University campus in Normal through 2029, the IHSA, ISU and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau announced this week.

“CEFCU Arena feels like home for the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals, so we are excited to be able to announce an extension that pushes us closer to 40 years of the state tourney being held on the ISU campus,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “CEFCU Arena is beautiful, and we have an incredible support from the ISU staff and community volunteers. Their passion and professionalism make for an unforgettable experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans.”

Horton Fieldhouse on the ISU campus hosted the inaugural IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals in 1977. The tourney then moved to Champaign for a little over a decade before returning to CEFCU Arena in 1992, where it has remained since.

“Illinois State University values the long-standing relationship between ISU, the IHSA and the Bloomington/Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau,” ISU Interim Director of Athletics Jeri Mullins Beggs said. “We’re proud that the IHSA Girls Basketball Tournament is synonymous with Illinois State University. We look forward to providing a first-class experience to all the teams and their fans.”

Through the years, future stars like Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings and NFHS Hall of Fame coach Dorothy Gaters won IHSA state titles competing in CEFCU Arena.

“We are honored that the Illinois High School Association has given us the opportunity to continue to host the prestigious IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals,” BNACVB President and CEO Crystal Howard said. “We appreciate the great working relationship we have with the Illinois High School Association and look forward to welcoming the athletes, students and fans. The economic impact this event has on our community is considerable, and we will make every effort to give our visitors a great State Finals experience.”

In 2021-22, the IHSA altered the state finals format and now crowns state champions in all four classes on a single-weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). In June 2024, the IHSA board approved time and game order schedule changes to the state tourney that will go into effect in 2025.