EDWARDSVILLE – For the duo of Jack Marinko and Caleb Strohmeier, the Senior Night ceremonies at Lucco-Jackson Gym Friday night before Edwardsville's 57-54 win over Belleville East was a highlight of the two teammates' long-standing friendship.

Both Marinko and Strohmeier have played together since grade school on various teams both in school and on summer teams. In fact, the duo only lost two games in their time as teammates at Lincoln Middle School in Edwardsville.

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The two teammates were honored in pregame ceremonies along with the other seniors – Cole Scarbrough, R.J. Wilson, Craig Roberts and Tyler Halling – on their final game at home. But both have big plans for playing deep into the postseason.

“Not the last game,” Strohmeier said in a post-game interview, “but it's one of the last games at home. But, yeah, it's just crazy We've been growing up together, fourth-grade city league basketball. Yeah, it's been fun, but we're definitely not done yet.”

“It's pretty emotional,” Marinko said. “I've been playing with him my whole life, but we've got more to accomplish. We've been playing together for a really long time, we've got chemistry, we're like that one-two hit. We just know where each other's going to be all the time, and I feel like it's just been great.”

The chemistry that the two have developed over the years has served both Marinko and Strohmeier very well.

“Since we've been playing together, we're playing at the (YMCA) in games all the time, we just have that bond,” Marinko said.

And the Senior Night ceremonies meant a lot to the two, made even more special with Wilson's game-winning three-point play with 0.7 seconds left in regulation.

“It was crazy,” Strohmeier said, “walking out, just kind of getting emotional a little bit, last time playing on this court. But what a way to go out, what a way to win this game and be with all my buddies growing up together. Yeah, I mean it's crazy. You just think how much time flies.”

“It's a great time,” Marinko said. “Obviously, playing with our friends playing in four years, R.J., and Cole Scarbrough, and stuff like that. It's just emotional.”

Strohmeier made sure to mention Roberts and Halling as well.

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As far as playing in college, both Strohmeier and Marinko haven't yet made definite plans as of yet.

“I'm still in the recruitment process,” Marinko said. “My options are still open, so I'm just going just continue that after the season, and then, I'll make a decision.”

“Same answer,” Strohmeier said. “Still open.”

As far as playing together in college, both are also open to it.

“That's a possibility,” Strohmeier said. “We'll leave that open, but that's a possibility.”

And of course, the friendship will always be there when the two get together for reunions in the upcoming years.

“Lifelong brothers,” Strohmeier said.

“We'll always have that bond coming back,” Marinko said. “We'll just remember these good times,” Marinko said.

But there's still more to be accomplished, and both are looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“It's just been a great run; we're not finished yet,” Strohmeier said. “We're just enjoying this.”

“Pretty much the same thing,” Marinko said. “We've just got to keep it going. We're not done yet, we've got more to achieve.”

And for the duo of Jack Marinko and Caleb Strohmeier, you can rest assured that they'll both achieve their goals now and in the future.

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