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Du Quoin's Alongi to officiate at IHSA state tournament.

Byline: pete spitler

Du Quoin mayor and longtime official Guy Alongi will get to cross off a big item on his bucket list next weekend in Peoria.

Alongi, with 32 years of experience in stripes, found out this week that he will be one of the officials to call the IHSA boys basketball state tournament at Carver Arena. He won't find out until next Thursday which semifinal game he will get, but he's going to state for the first time in his career.

Referees for Saturday's championship games are determined by the IHSA on Friday night.

"I feel honored and fortunate to call the state finals," Alongi said. "What's even better about it is I get to call it with another official in Du Quoin's Aaron Wright, who called it last year."

Also included in the three-man crew is Chuck Hughes, of Golconda. Together, the crew has 87 years of officiating experience.

"Last year, it was kind of a little surprise to me getting the call to go," Wright said. "The first year going up, it's new, you don't know what's going on and it goes quick."

Wright also got the nod to call the Class 2A state title game, which was won by Orr High School (Chicago) in a 59-39 rout of Mount Carmel. Wright called the game in a crew with James Broadway and Larry Barnett.

"This year, I can relax, take it in and enjoy it a little more knowing how the process is," Wright said.

The IHSA determines who officiates on its biggest stages via ratings from coaches. Postseason assignments for referees are typically posted online 10 to 12 days ahead of the contest.

"Hopefully, the fans don't recognize the officials and everybody focuses on the kids," Alongi said.

At 64, Alongi has donated half his life to officiating. Starting out with grade school games in the mid-1980s, he worked his way up the ranks and was scheduled to call the Robinson Sectional this week.

"I was the little guy in high school, wasn't very athletic, but I enjoyed athletics," Alongi said. "My dad was a professional baseball scout for 30 years.

"He loved baseball and I loved basketball and the only way I could be part of the game was to officiate."

Alongi said he has gotten plenty of help during the years and credited Eric Brannock, Roger Grumley, Bob Conte and Wayne Bigham as those he has leaned on for advice.

Brannock and Grumley officiated the state finals in 2004 and 2005 and retired in 2010 and 2011. Alongi officiated his first-ever game with Conte at Sacred Heart School.

"I think Bob will attest to you that I was probably lost," Alongi said of his first game as an official. "He gave his advice and consent and I listen to those people that gave me that advice.

"I stuck around after I was doing JV ball and got tips from the varsity officials and saw how they worked."

Alongi also thanked his wife, Rose, and his family for supporting his career.

"My wife and family have been supporting me 100 percent and she sat at home many Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights," he said.

As for the future, Alongi said he's going to keep officiating in the hopes of earning a second trip to the state tournament.

"There's three things I love in life," he said. "Number one, my family. Number two, being mayor of the city of Du Quoin and three is the officiating."

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 2, 2018
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