Sunday, January 20, 2019

Redbirds 'blow the roof off' in 49-point win over East Peoria

Redbirds 'blow the roof off' in 49-point win over East Peoria

Metamora's Alivia West and East Peoria's Kelsey Shaffer go for the opening tip on Saturday night. Metamora went on to
win the game, 69-20. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB 
East Peoria, Ill. - The Metamora Redbirds (16-5) (6-3) played the East Peoria Raiders (2-20) (0-9) on Saturday night in East Peoria. We could just leave it at that, or we could tell you the bizarre situation that happened prior to the game.

In the preliminary sophomore game, the teams had broken their final huddle and were getting ready to go to center court for the opening tip. In fact, East Peoria was already lined up in position and ready to go. Hold up. There's a leak in the roof. Yes, what the area had received recently in terms of snow had become too much for East Peoria's skylights, and mist was coming through and onto the floor.

The sophomore game was moved into an auxiliary gym on campus, while EPCHS maintenance staff went to work on the skylights. The situation was that if the main gym issue couldn't be fixed in time for the varsity game, Metamora and East Peoria would have to give it a third try to play. Yours truly was in the main gym while this was all going down. They brought in a gentleman on a lift to go up to the skylights from the inside. He patched the skylights that were leaky with what appeared to be cut up garbage bags and duct tape. Hey, whatever works, right? The varsity game would go on as scheduled.

It got off to a rough start for the Redbirds, but only a start. A pair of turnovers and a back-and-forth, almost rugby-style scrum were some low points early on. There may not even be an argument that there were next to no negative moments the rest of the game.

After that was all said and done, the scoring came in a flurry. Katie Lalumandier, a freshman nonetheless, had a quality quarter, scoring five of her eight points. Alivia West, Kaylee Hieronymus, and Alana Terry combined for 14 of Metamora's 21 points in the quarter. The Redbirds took a 21-8 lead after the opening eight minutes, marking the first 20+ point quarter since December 21st against Morris (29).

Momentum continued into the second quarter when the threes started falling, and who hit them may not be a surprise. Anne Peters and Reagan Begole made a trey each. What has become a theme for the Redbirds is balanced scoring. That stood true in all four quarters on Saturday. In the second, six different players scored and seven had scored by halftime, the most since the aforementioned Morris game.

By half's end, the Redbirds' scoring went down, but so did the Raiders', allowing Metamora to take a sizeable 38-14 lead into the halftime locker room.

Neither team was on a good track in terms of scoring, but in overall play, the Redbirds stayed the course, utilizing their quickness and specifically their press to limit the East Peoria offense as much as they could.

The third quarter saw another decrease in scoring on both sides, but neither by much at all. Alivia West solidified a quality game by scoring six in the quarter to finish with a game-high 12 points. Metamora hit their third three of the game when Lexi McClure got one to go for her fifth points of the game. Sarah LaHood and Inell Davis Watson were the only scorers for the Raiders.

It was going to be running clock, a new rule in the IHSA this year. If a team is up by 30, at and only as early as the start of the fourth quarter, the clock runs. So, Saturday, that happened.

Despite the clock doing its thing, the Redbirds still managed to put 16 points up on the board for the quarter. Once again, six players scored, and only one had made more than one shot, that being freshman Elena Redgate. Hannah Tellor, Lalumandier, Makenna Youngquist, and Terry had made the other shots.

The game went to the Redbirds by plenty. 49 to be exact. The Redbirds would walk away with their 16th win of the season, winning over the Raiders by a score of 69-20.

Anne Peters (10 pts) and Kaylee Hieronymus (10) joined Alivia West as the double figure scorers for the game.

The win makes Metamora the winning-est team at (16-5) since going (19-12) back in 2009-2010, when the team won a regional championship and lost in the sectional championship.

Next week is a big week for the Redbirds, hosting Dunlap on Tuesday and traveling to #3 Morton on Saturday.

Metamora Scoring: Alivia West (12), Anne Peters (10), Kaylee Hieronymus (10), Alana Terry (9), Katie Lalumandier (8), Reagan Begole (7), Lexi McClure (5), Elena Redgate (4), Hannah Tellor (2), Makenna Youngquist (2)

Metamora Team Stats: 26 2's, 5 3's, 2-4 FTs, 7 fouls, 69 points

Metamora Individual Leaders:
2's | Alivia West (6)
3's | Anne Peters (2)
Free Throws | Lalumandier / Terry (both 1-2)

Next Metamora Game:
Tuesday, January 22nd
vs. Dunlap Eagles
7:00 pm CST tip-off
In-Game Updates | @MetamoraGBB
TV | MTCO Redbird Replay

Friday, January 18, 2019

Braves can't hold off Missouri State

Braves can't hold off Missouri State

Bradley's Nyjah White and Missouri State's Jasmine Franklin go for the opening tipoff of Friday night's game.
The Lady Bears would go on to win, 68-56. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Peoria, Ill. - The wintry weather hadn't hit the Peoria area just yet, so that allowed the Missouri State Lady Bears (8-7) (4-0) to play the Bradley Braves (12-4) (2-3) at Renaissance Coliseum on Friday night.

This one got off to quite a slow start. Truthfully, for both sides. A jumper exactly midway through the opening quarter by the Lady Bears' Danielle Gitzen made it 14-7 Missouri State. Only three combined points would be scored the rest of the quarter. Bradley's Chelsea Brackmann scored on a layup and Abby Hipp added a free throw for Missouri State. Over the course of 10 minutes, both teams would combine for 24 points, with the visiting Lady Bears holding a 15-9 advantage.

Brackmann sees the low-scoring start as not the sole reason for the loss, but she says that it certainly didn't help, adding that they were "stunned a little bit".

"I think sometimes we dig ourselves a hole. That doesn't really help us in the long run. I think we just need to come out stronger."

Scoring came a bit more at ease for each side in the second quarter, but more so for Missouri State. Eight threes were hit between both teams, but the Lady Bears hit two of them in the second, with Gitzen and Alexa Willard each hitting a trey apiece.

Willard continued her presence as the leading scorer for Missouri State, scoring seven of her game-high (tied) 18 points. Gitzen added six in the quarter to give their head coach Kellie Harper two double figure scorers by halftime.

Bradley, on the other hand, would nearly double their scoring from the opening period of play, but keep in mind that the Braves scored nine points in the first.

Gabi Haack hit Bradley's first three of the night, but the scoring was fairly spread out, with Brackmann, Lasha Petree, Tatum Koenig, Vanessa Markert, and Nyjah White all hitting the scoring column.

Missouri State would take a 13-point lead at halftime, 37-24 to be exact.

It seemed like it would at first. The Braves seemed fairly rejuvenated in the third quarter. However, the Lady Bears appeared to have an answer for just about every Bradley make. A Haack three was answered by a Franklin layup. Emily Marsh jumper - Calip jumper.

A layup by Tatum Koenig with 4:52 on the clock was the first shot that was not followed by a score from Missouri State. It was a layup from Ryan Wilkins to trim the Lady Bears lead down to 13. In fact, a free throw from Franklin was all Missouri State got the rest of the quarter. It was almost a 10 point game with a mere quarter to go.

It took just over half of the fourth quarter, but the Braves got the deficit within 10 points when Petree hit her first three-ball of the contest, and the single-digit spread was for the first time since the 5:54 mark of the second quarter.

That deficit wouldn't last long though. A free throw from the Lady Bears' Sydney Wilson 24 seconds later brought it back to 10+, and the Braves would not get any closer.

A layup from Gabi Haack made it a 10-point game once again with just over a minute to go, but it wasn't enough to give the Braves the win.

Friday's game wrapped with the final 1:13 of the game not seeing any points scored, after Willard hit a jumper for Missouri State with the aforementioned 73 seconds to go.

The Lady Bears would get the win, 68-56, to stay undefeated in Missouri Valley play. Missouri State and the Southern Illinois Salukis will trade places on Sunday, as the Salukis are coming off of 60-52 loss to Illinois State in Normal.

Gabi Haack's 18 points paced Bradley's scoring. Chelsea Brackmann also brought in her eighth double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and bringing in 13 rebounds. Her double-double was a bright spot in the Braves' offensive efforts, and Gorski agrees.

"That kid - she's just all business. We don't have to worry about Chelsea. We know what we're getting night in and night out. She's going to come mentally and physically ready to play."

Brackmann says that a particular player's game had to do with the way she played tonight, at least in terms of rebounds.

"I just knew 32 (Jasmine Franklin) was one of the good rebounders. I had to out-rebound her as well."

She did, Brackmann out-rebounded Franklin by a tally of 13-6.

There was a key stat that Coach Gorski was not pleased with. Free throws. Bradley shot 7-9 on the game, while the Lady Bears went 15-26. She says that the odds are almost never in your favor in those situations.

"You're not going to win any games doing that."

Gorski went on to say that on top of the charity stripe, there was another major factor in Missouri State's play.

"They are a super physical team. You're not going to win when they get that many more (+17) free throws (attempted) at home."

With Brackmann being one of Bradley's key contributors in terms of physicality, her perspective would be one of the best within the team. The junior says that the "physicalness" that Missouri State brings to the floor is something they knew about going into the game.

"I guess we just gotta wait until we're at Missouri State (February 17th) and just match their physicalness."

The third-year coach is hopeful that a couple of aspects of her team's game against the Lady Bears carry over into Sunday's tilt with the Salukis.

"Made some great individual shots. It was just pull-up jumpers and great individual plays. That's tough. Team defense, I don't think it was as bad. They had 68 points, but I don't think it was as bad as that."

The Braves will host Southern Illinois on Sunday afternoon.

Bradley Scoring: Gabi Haack (18), Chelsea Brackmann (12), Tatum Koenig (6), Lasha Petree (5), Ellie Spelhaug (5), Vanessa Markert (4), Nyjah White (2), Ryan Wilkins (2), Emily Marsh (2)

Bradley Team Stats: 
FGs | 22 for 68 (32.4%)
3's | 5 for 23 (21.7%)
FTs | 7 for 9 (77.8%)
Rebounds | 38
Fouls | 20
Assists | 14
Turnovers | 19
Blocks | 3
Steals | 11

Bradley Individual Leaders:
FGs | Gabi Haack (7 for 16)
3's | Gabi Haack (3 for 9)
FTs | Chelsea Brackmann (4 for 6)
Rebounds | Chelsea Brackmann (13)
Assists | Tatum Koenig (5)
Blocks | Vanessa Markert (2)
Steals | Chelsea Brackmann (6)

Next Bradley Game:
vs. Southern Illinois (8-7) (1-3)
@ Renaissance Coliseum
Web Stream | ESPN+ ($)
Radio | WIRL 1290 AM

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Grant Hammer named to Fall 2018 Dean's List at Wisconsin Lutheran College

Grant Hammer named to Fall 2018 Dean's List at Wisconsin Lutheran College

Grant Hammer named to Fall 2018 Dean's List at Wisconsin Lutheran College, Metamora Herald

 Grant Hammer, of Germantown Hills, a freshman at Wisconsin Lutheran College, has been named to the college's Dean's List for the fall 2018 semester. Hammer is a graduate of Metamora Township High School.

To be eligible for Dean's List, a student must carry a semester GPA of 3.6 or higher.

Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) is an independent Christian college grounded in the liberal arts and located on the border of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. Founded in 1973, it is committed to preparing the next generation of ethical Christian leaders for service in nearly any career field across the world. The college is recognized for its academic excellence and superior student experience and in 2018 was named a national College of Distinction. 

Learn more at

Robert Gibson To Join IHSA Staff as New IT Director

Robert Gibson To Join IHSA Staff as New IT Director

Robert Gibson To Join IHSA Staff as New IT Director, Metamora Herald

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met at its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, where the Board approved the hiring of Robert Gibson as the IHSA’s Director of Information Technology.

Gibson is slated to begin his time at the IHSA later this spring. He will work in tandem with current IHSA Assistant Executive Director and Director of Information Technology Scott Johnson until Johnson’s retirement.

“I am excited to join the IHSA family,” said Gibson. “The responsibilities that lie ahead of me seem to fit perfectly into my skill set, and I expect the role will be as rewarding as it is challenging.”

Gibson comes to the IHSA from Heartland Community College in Normal, where he has worked since 2010. He began with Heartland in a Web Programming role, before transitioning to become the school’s Website Manager in 2012. He has led many large-scale projects at Heartland, including a major website redesign and several College-wide initiatives.

“We are proud to be able to welcome Bob Gibson to the IHSA staff,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “His technical qualifications were evident throughout the process, while his creativity and enthusiasm helped to set him apart during interviews. His time working with Scott Johnson will be invaluable to better understanding the needs of the Association and allowing him to develop his vision for the future.”

Gibson was home-schooled through high school, and went on to earn his Associate Degree in Applied Science in Management Information Systems from Illinois Valley Community College. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science in Information Technology while attending Heartland Community College and online at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, before completing his Master’s Degree in Information Science at Illinois State University.

“The IT field is constantly changing, and therefore, someone working in IT must keep changing too", said Gibson. “I plan to help the IHSA continue to provide excellent opportunities for our students while working to improve efficiency.”

Gibson, who also completed his Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, previously worked in diverse Information Technology roles for Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Illinois State University, and the American Rabbit Breeders Association in Bloomington where he has been involved in automating nation-wide systems.

He resides in Bloomington with his wife, Melissa, and their four children. Gibson’s start date and Johnson’s retirement date will be announced in the near future.
Beware of Frozen Pipes around the House This Winter

Beware of Frozen Pipes around the House This Winter

With another blast of cold temperatures and more snow set to hit the state later this week, frozen pipes have the potential to be an issue this winter.
A quarter-million families across the U.S. suffer from frozen pipe damage each winter. According to 2017 data, State Farm® paid more claims in Illinois (348) for winter water losses (including frozen pipes and ice dams) than any other state in the U.S. The total pay-out for Illinois claims in 2017 reached nearly $10,000,000, with the average cost per claim being just under $29,000.
State Farm provides the following tips to prevent frozen pipes from happening during the winter months:
  • When temperatures drop:
  • Insulate pipes that run along outside walls, floors and ceilings in your home’s crawl spaces and attic. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.
  • Disconnect outside garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located.
  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
  • Before you travel:
  • Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C).
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Shut off and drain the water system.
  • If you experience frozen pipes:
  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water to avoid electrocution.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard.
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
2019 Redbird Roundball Classic Tournament This Weekend

2019 Redbird Roundball Classic Tournament This Weekend

2019 Redbird Roundball Classic Tournament This Weekend, Metamora Herald

MTHS Redbird Roundball Classic Basketball Tournament

Teams: East Peoria, Metamora, Notre Dame de La Salette, Yorkville Christian
Tournament Schedule:
Friday 1/18/2019
Game Time
5:30 PM
Yorkville Christian vs. Notre Dame de La Salette
7:00 PM
MTHS vs. East Peoria
*On Friday, Participating Teams will be provided with pizza and soda/water following their game.
Saturday 1/19/2019
Game Time
11:00 AM
E. Peoria vs. Notre Dame de La Salette
12:30 PM
Yorkville Christian vs. MTHS
6:00 PM
East Peoria vs. Yorkville Christian
7:30 PM
MTHS vs. Notre Dame de La Salette

The first team listed will be Home and wear White. All games will be in the Toepke Gym. If weather becomes an issue, updates will be published through @MTHSAthletics

Friday, January 11, 2019

Under threat, Illinois private school tuition program to open with fewer donations

Under threat, Illinois private school tuition program to open with fewer donations

Under threat, Illinois private school tuition program to open with fewer donations, Metamora Herald

By Cole Lauterbach and Greg Bishop

Tens of thousands of parents across Illinois will be camped out in front of their computers Tuesday evening when the application window for a share of the state’s private school scholarship program opens, even though the future of the program is uncertain with Democrats looking to defund it.

The Invest in Kids five-year pilot private school scholarship program takes tax-discounted donations and uses the money to pay tuition for children to go to the private school of their choice.

Empower Illinois, the state’s largest scholarship-granting organization, will open their portal for parents to reserve their child’s spot in line for consideration at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Executive Director Anthony Holter his organization is ready for the thousands of applicants expected to log in, saying a two-step method will prevent the server issues that left a number of parents upset last year.
“That secures their timestamp for their first-come, first-served spot in line for the tax credit scholarships,” he said.
The organizations have raised $7.7 million of the available $100 million for this period, meaning there is less money at the onset of the program than last year. If the full $100 million reached, it would allow Empower and the handful of other SGOs to send between 10,000 and 15,000 students to a private school with tuition largely covered.
Holter said incoming Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s campaign promise to end the program has some donors concerned they won’t get their tax credit for 75 percent of their donation.
“To be honest, I think there is a little bit of a wait-and-see,” he said. “Our message has always been ‘a deal’s a deal. Give us the five years.’”
He said there is likely to be more donations near tax time and the end of the calendar year.
The Big Shoulders Fund, another SGO, opens its portal for registration at 8 p.m. Jan. 22.
“In the end, the impact on families will win the day,” director Josh Hale said.
The program was included in the school funding overhaul State Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, sponsored. He said Pritzker isn’t a fan and expects a bill to repeal it even though he said it’s too early to see if the program has been successful.
“I don’t know if we know just yet since it’s only been recently implemented,” he said. “I think we just need to take that look moving forward to see if it is indeed working.”
Davis said he worried that the program isn’t helping low-income children improve like supporters had promised it would. Holter said three out of four grant recipients from Empower lived in a family under 180 percent of the state poverty line. Hale said the average income of a family whose child received one of their grants was $22,500.
Pritzker’s office was not available for comment on the governor's plans for the program.
In its first year, the Invest in Kids program will have helped nearly 5,600 students with tuition assistance that will send them to a private school of their choosing. Demand for tuition aid has outpaced donations. Empower Illinois, one of the organizations that distribute the money, said more than 30,000 students still are waiting for tuition assistance.
Previous bills would have required full funding adequacy in public schools across the state before the Invest in Kids tax credits would be issued.