Is The Best Illinois High School Gym In Sterling?
Located about an hour southwest of Rockford down Route 2 you'll find one of the best high school gyms in the state if not the entire country at Sterling High School.
I was not familiar with Musgrove Fieldhouse before traveling there for the boys 2A Super-sectional matchup between Rockford Lutheran and Rockridge. We were covering the game for WROK and were surprised that the Super-sectional was being held in a high school gym instead of a college floor. Northern Illinois University usually hosts games like this. That is supposed to be the reward for making it to the final 8 in the state tournament, a game in a big arena.
The moment I walked into the gym I realized why Sterling High School was selected to be a Super-sectional site. The gym is unlike any you've ever seen and might be the perfect setting for a raucous high school basketball game.
You walk in from behind one of the end bleachers. Walking through a brick tunnel you enter the fieldhouse staring directly at the back wall of the bleachers. You have to turn right or left to get around them.
Another brick wall next to you the climbs 40 feet high lines the hallway made with the back of the bleachers as you round the corner and are greeted with this sight.
A newly remodeled 1950s storage shed with a beautiful court centered beneath 4 massive LED scoreboards, flanked on all sides with brand new deep blue bleachers. Yellow painted metal provides a stark contrast to the blue bleachers and is present in the hand rails and massive support beams that run up the all brick wall.
It's a tightly packed space in an enormous room.
The technology was impressive as well. Each of the 4 scoreboards played a live stream of the game on the court, captured by I think at least 3 cameras and edited on the fly. Instant replays were shown during dead ball situations.
It was very impressive.
The game itself was sold out and when a 19 point blowout by Rockridge became a 3 point nail biter, the roar echoing off the brick walls and the high ceiling were some of the loudest I've ever heard, especially at a basketball game.
In the end a clean 3-pointer from Walter Hill Jr. barely rimmed out and Luthern's season had come to a close.
The Rockridge students that were directly, like everyone else in the gym, directly on top of the court and the ceremonious "rushing of the court" began.
The entire Sterling High School campus was very interesting as well. A very small college feel in the small town of Sterling.
If you find yourself near there, it's worth a peek if this sort of thing interests you. They're proud of it and don't mind showing it off.
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