Whatever happens tonight in Peoria at the Zion-Benton/Evanston Class 4A basketball game, you have to admit Zion-Benton has one of the cooler team mascots in Illinois. Hands down, it has the best in Lake County by a long run.
Just look around: There's three Bulldog teams, there's Wildcats, Cougars, Panthers, Eagles, Scouts, Warriors, Mustangs, Bears, Broncos, Rams, Knights and Patriots. The Hound has to admit the Little Giants of Highland Park are better than average. The Warhawks of North Chicago have some military ties. How does Carmel Catholic get away with using a sanitized term, Corsairs, for pillaging pirates? And how has the Sequoits missed being outed by American Indian protesters? Let's not even mention Warren's Blue Devils.
But the Zee-Bees, now that's a mascot. It's different and combines the two townships, Zion and Benton, which make up the student population. It's also clever, short and simple. The Hound could say sweet, but then that would be taking that bee metaphor just one more step closer to the edge.
There's only a few statewide that come close to matching the Zee-Bees in the mascot arena, like the Orphan Annies, the girls sports teams of Centralia, or the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes or the Freeport Pretzels. But the Zee-Bees rule the hive, so to speak, and The Hound expects them to do the same in Peoria.
Sting 'em, Bees!