Friday, February 16, 2018

Metamora Girls Basketball falls in Regional Championship, finishes season (15-13)

Metamora's Anne Peters dives for the loose ball in the Regional Championship against her former Washington team. The Panthers won the game, 55-48. PHOTO / CHRISTOPHER LEE
Metamora, IL - One of the best crowds of the season packed Toepke Gym in Metamora on Thursday night to see two arch-rivals duke it out for a regional championship. The Metamora Redbirds (15-13) (7-7) were looking for their first regional in eight seasons, while the Washington Panthers (22-8) (9-5) had been here before, winning their most recent regional coming just two years ago. 

Fans could tell from the onset that this was going to be a tough, grind-it-out type of game. Lily Harlan and Sierra Sonnemaker were the only scorers for Washington in the opening frame, combining for six points. For the Redbirds, it was Alivia West with a quality quarter, getting six of her 13 on the game in the first eight minutes of this one. Neither team would hit double figures after a quarter of play, with Metamora leading the Panthers 8-6. 

One team was bound to get going eventually. Unfortunately for Metamora, is was the Panthers. A 17-point quarter was paced by Baker and Sonnemaker, who combined for nine of the 17. All the Redbirds could muster was a two from West and a free throw from Reagan Begole. Having been outscored by 14 in the second, put Metamora down 12, 23-11. 

The second half saw a rejuvenated Metamora squad, yet Washington was still where they were at the half. The Redbirds were able to get a five-point quarter from both Anne Peters and Sierrah Seals, as well as West and Begole also getting in the scoring column. Trips to the free throw line were still few and far between for Metamora to this point. At the quarter's conclusion, they had only gone 2-4 from the stripe. The hosts just would not go away, down 10 with eight minutes remaining in the game, 35-25.

Fourth quarter play saw both teams with their best offensive quarter of the game. Metamora would claw back within ten on multiple occasions, but the Panthers were able to answer almost every time on the other end. This kept the Redbirds just out of reach. Washington would come away with another regional championship, and Metamora's quest for a regional plaque will have to wait at least one more year. The final score favored the Panthers, 55-48.

Metamora finished with one of the best seasons in recent program history, going (15-13). That's the most wins in a season since 2009-10, a year in which they lost in the Sectional Championship to Peoria Richwoods. They went on a six game win streak in the second half of the season, their longest of Head Coach Brianna Morrow's tenure. Morrow also won her 200th career game this season, and at the end of the 2017-18 season, is not only the winningest Metamora Girls Basketball coach since Kathy Wainman (01-02 to 09-10), but she is along the longest-tenured coach since Wainman, having coached in a total of 111 games at Metamora.

The Lady Redbirds graduate three seniors. Sierrah Seals, Anna Barrow, and Alison Lee. Almost 80% of Metamora's scoring will return, paced by the combined 631 points between Anne Peters (284) and Reagan Begole (347). 

The 2018-2019 season can start for Metamora as soon as 255 days from now (October 29th, 2018).

Metamora Girls Basketball Season Scorers:
Reagan Begole (347 / 12.4 ppg)
Anne Peters (284 / 10.1 ppg)
Alivia West (218 / 7.8 ppg)
Sierrah Seals (170 / 6.1 ppg)
Kaylee Hieronymus (84 / 3.0 ppg)
Tameshia Smullin (76 / 2.7 ppg)
Alison Lee (71 / 2.5 ppg)
Anna Barrow (61 / 2.2 ppg)
Alana Terry (18 / 0.6 ppg)
Maddi Benson (6 / 0.2 ppg)
Kenzie England (4 / 0.1 ppg)
Makenna Youngquist (3 / 0.1 ppg)
Maggie Schaffer (2 / 0.1 ppg)

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