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Thousands pack Wharton Field House to watch Moline punch their ticket to the Elite Eight

It's been a record-winning season for the Maroons, with the boy's basketball team standing at 32-3 with a Sectional title under their belt.

MOLINE, Ill. — The Moline Maroons are heading to the Elite Eight after a dominating win over O'Fallon High School Friday night.

The boys' basketball team won 62-38, extending their winning record to 32-3. It's been a record-winning season for the team, with the most number of wins in the school's history.

The boys have also been state-ranked all season long, currently standing in second place.

"They're like good players and they have a good attitude," said 10-year-old fan Parker Hahn.

"It inspires us to keep on trying because they've gone this far," said Ayden Long, also 10 years old who plays fifth-grade basketball with Hahn.

The two boys agree that they've been Moline fans since they were born because they're from Moline and their favorite part of watching the high school team is seeing senior Owen Freeman shoot threes.

Four thousand tickets were sold in pre-sale, but that doesn't even begin to count the number of people who bought tickets at the door. Wharton Field House, which can hold around 8,000 people, was completely packed Friday night.

"Just look at this place and the support that we've had has been amazing," said Athletic Director Todd Thompson. "It's been like this all year, so their success and bringing in the numbers does nothing but help the Athletic Department and the Boosters throughout the whole year and we'll possibly reap those benefits next year."

All the revenue from the thousands and thousands of tickets sold this season benefits the Athletic Department. Meanwhile, the concession revenue goes back to the Booster Club.

"The Boosters do the special things for our athletes, allowing kids to go to the state wrestling tournament to be super fans and paying for that and getting them the equipment they need," Thompson said.

He doesn't know how much money the team will have brought in this season until the end of the year.

"But I know that we're well ahead of what we expected," Thompson said.

This was the team's first Sectional Championship since 2004.

Friday marked the Maroon's last home game. Moline will take on Oswego East Monday, March 6 at Illinois State University.

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