It's a tradition.
Since 1984, high school basketball fans in the Sauk Valley have been treated to exciting post-season all-star games.
That tradition marks its 30th anniversary this evening when the Sauk Valley Media All-Star Classic tips off at Sterling High School's Musgrove Fieldhouse.
The girls all-star game begins at 5 p.m., followed by the boys all-star game at 7 p.m.
Times certainly have changed since the first all-star game, sponsored by the Telegraph, took place on June 16, 1984, at Lancaster Gym, Dixon.
Only one game was played, featuring the top graduating senior all-star boys.
That changed in 2004, when the All-Star Classic added an all-star girls game.
There was no three-point arc in 1984.
That changed in 1987, when the All-Star Classic provided a sneak peek at the new three-point line that would be instituted by the IHSA for the 1987-88 season.
Oh, and there were no players from the Gazette area in the 1984 game, which took place before the Telegraph and Gazette came under the same ownership in the mid-1990s. Gazette area players were first invited to participate in the 1998 All-Star Classic, which was relocated to the Sauk Valley Community College gym.
Over the years, many quality players have performed in the all-star games.
That tradition continues this year, as 17 girls and 19 boys will participate from Oregon, Dixon, Newman, Eastland, Erie, Rock Falls, Sterling, Milledgeville, Morrison, AFC, Amboy, Polo, Fulton, and Prophetstown high schools.
Traditionally, Sauk Valley Media has been aided by sponsors for this community event. That is no different this year, as KSB Hospital and Moore Tires have lent their assistance.
There's one more tradition that characterizes the All-Star Classic – strong fan support.
We encourage that tradition to continue at today's games.
See you there.