McLean County Basketball Tournament Championship Game, January 21, 1966 Octavia 68, Lexington 48
For many years the biggest sporting event on the local calendar was the McLean County Basketball Tournament, which began way back in 1911. During the years before school consolidation, 20 or more McLean County high schools outside of Bloomington-Normal would battle it out for bragging rights as the county’s small school champion.
There were 11 schools vying for the 1966 tourney title. On January 21, Octavia (a consolidation of Colfax, Cooksville, and Anchor now known as Ridgeview) beat Lexington in the championship game before a packed Horton Field House crowd on the Illinois State University campus. See accompanying photograph. Danvers defeated LeRoy 68-52 in the third-place game. Girls began competing in their own county tournament in 1981. Today, the McLean County Basketball Tournament doubles as the mid-season boys’ and girls’ tournaments for the 13-member Heart of Illinois Conference, though only 5 schools (Heyworth, LeRoy, Lexington, Ridgeview, and Tri-Valley) are located in McLean County.