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Mooseheart celebrates first boys hoops title

Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 11:47 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:08 a.m. CDT
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(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Mooseheart basketball player Mangisto Deng gets a hug from school employee Mary Beth Hake after a celebration that honored the school's athletes Friday morning. Mooseheart won the IHSA Class 1A state basketball title last weekend.

MOOSEHEART – Mooseheart sixth-grade student Fareedah Adebayo was feeling the excitement of the day as she and her fellow band members played Friday during a celebration of Mooseheart’s first boys basketball state championship.

“We were dancing,” she said. “We’re happy for the boys.”

Mooseheart’s Red Ramblers won, 63-47, against Heyworth in the IHSA Class 1A state championship game March 15 at the Peoria Civic Center. It was the first team state championship in school history. Mooseheart, a community and school for children and teens in need, celebrated its 100-year anniversary last year.

“We have the greatest fans,” Mooseheart basketball coach Ron Ahrens said to the crowd gathered for the celebration. “It’s because of you that we have this opportunity.”

Mooseheart junior Mason Miller, who is part of the school’s drum line and band, also was part of Friday’s celebration. He was cheering for the basketball team as it made its way through the state tournament.

“It makes you feel proud,” Miller said. “We are all a family here. We all do things to help each other out.”

That sentiment was shared by sophomore Shakenya Cherry. She said she knows all of the players on the basketball team because Mooseheart is a small school.

“They tried really hard,” she said. “They practiced hard.”

The celebration also recognized Mooseheart’s first state qualifying wrestler, IHSA Class 1A 170-pounder Joe Feemorlu, as well as Wal Khat, a fourth-place finisher in a Class 1A state cross country meet last November. Khat previously had been Mooseheart’s first all-state cross country runner.

“This is Joe’s second season in wrestling,” said Mark Johnson, Mooseheart athletic director and wrestling coach. “He worked hard this year and worked hard at practice. He proved himself.”

And Feemorlu will strive to achieve even more goals, Johnson said.

“In talking to Joe, he’s looking to go back next year,” he said. “I know he wants to advance even further.”

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