Friday, December 21, 2018

Redbirds drop 77 points in dominant win over Morris

Ottawa's Kingman Gym sits in the dark after the Metamora - Morris game on Friday night. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Ottawa, Ill. - It wasn't as busy of a day at Kingman Gym in Ottawa on Friday. Last Saturday, there were eight games on tap. Friday, only three were scheduled.

The only opponent of the day for Metamora would be the Morris Redskins (1-14) (0-3). With their opponent being the Metamora Redbirds (12-2) (3-1), the Redskins already had a lot to plan for. What didn't help was the fact that they had to play another game before the Metamora game. The Redskins were beaten handily by Pontiac.

Metamora came into the Morris game with fresh legs, and that showed. Kaylee Hieronymus was feeling it early, scoring almost all of her game-high 19 points in the first quarter alone. The senior said it came down to three things that she believes were all a part of her high-scoring start.

"Just running on transition and getting down the floor. Reagan leading the way in assists, just throwing it up there for me."

From the onset, the Redbirds were cruising. Seven different Redbirds scored in the opening quarter, while the Redskins only managed three points. In Metamora's highest-scoring quarter of the season thus far, the Redbirds led 29-3 after a quarter. Head Coach Brianna Morrow had nothing but positive things to say about the great start.

"I was really pleased with our energy level when we came out. I was pleased with our transition. They were focused to start the game."

Perhaps you thought the Redbirds were going to slow down. In fact, both teams basically mirrored their beginning efforts. The Redbirds got a quarter-high six points from Reagan Begole. Now Begole has struggled in the past getting into foul trouble. There's only been one game to this point of the season in which the senior has not been in foul trouble, but scored in single digits. In other words, it's highly likely that when she's in double figures, fouls were not a problem, and vice versa.

Begole's six points gave her 10 at the break. Hieronymus wasn't done just yet either. Morrow believes it wasn't just her scoring that contributed to the game of Hieronymus.

"She got off to a fast start because she ran and she worked without the ball really well. She was able to get layups. She hit a few outside shots too. I was really pleased with her effort level today."

Junior guard Lexi McClure entered the game with 25 total points on the season. By half's end, McClure would have already scored eight points. Tack that on as another player Coach Morrow had no problem saying positive things about.

""She's played really hard defensively. She played really well offensively. She didn't force anything, she just took easy, natural shots."

McClure herself acknowledged the game that she was having, while keeping it simple.

"Yeah, I shot pretty well tonight. It was a good game."

As the Redskins seemed overwhelmed at times by the Redbirds, a four-point quarter by Morris put Metamora up at half, 55-7.

It was already the highest-scoring half in the Morrow era, but yes, the Redbirds still weren't done making this one interesting. For just the second time this season, all active players dressed.

Not only did the Redbirds work in the players off of the bench, but almost all of those players scored. Of the 11 players that dressed, 10 scored.

Although the starting lineup saw little to no action the rest of the way, those that were on the floor were still able to make an impact.

It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the scoring truly cooled off, and that was because the Redbirds pulled back the throttle, up 57 after three quarters.

What didn't take long after the end of the quarter was for Metamora to hit the 60-point plateau, something that Kaylee Hieronymus says the team has been looking forward to.

"Our goal has been to hit 60 all season long. We were going crazy once we hit 60. We let up, but we were glad for everyone that scored."

A highlight of the fourth quarter came from sophomore guard Jenna Hiller. Hiller would hit a two to score her first varsity points. That being said, for the course of the season, Hiller's two points against Morris make it 12 of the 15 rostered players in the scoring column.

That kind of production is what led Metamora to a 77-13 win over Morris, something that McClure added is "just fun".

Saturday could potentially be a truly big day for the Redbirds. According to Coach Morrow, they got to stay overnight in a hotel, as they have a quick turnaround tomorrow against tournament host Ottawa. Nobody really hesitated after being prompted with how the overnight stay will help. Coach Morrow says you can look at it from multiple angles.

"We don't have the long bus ride. We'll be able to get up, get a good solid breakfast, be able to get over here. We're going to have to give our best effort."

On the other hand, McClure says that there's another aspect to keep in mind in terms of the stay.

"We're going to get to bed early, not stay up too late. We're just going to get up and come ready to play Ottawa."

The Pirates feature a familiar player, particularly for Reagan Begole and Anne Peters. Angelique Cowan, a 5'7" senior guard for the Pirates, has played AAU ball with the two Redbirds teammates. Begole says that although it's just one player, it does help.

"We got to watch them when we were here last week, so that definitely helped. Yeah, knowing how Angelique plays definitely helps us."

Believe it or not, despite the potential of playing in the tournament title game, the Redbirds aren't phased, rather, worrying about game one on Saturday, as Hieronymus echoes.

"Our goal is to get past Ottawa first. We know that's probably one of our main competitions, and then worry about our next game."

If Metamora was to win, they'd be playing for the first in-season tournament title for Metamora in quite a long time, a game that would start at 6:30 pm. Lose, and the play in the 3rd Place Game at 5:00 pm.

Metamora Scoring: Kaylee Hieronymus (19), Lexi McClure (16), Reagan Begole (10), Alivia West (8), Anne Peters (8), Alana Terry (8), Grace Tyra (2), Katie Lalumandier (2), Makenna Youngquist (2), Jenna Hiller (2)

Metamora Team Stats: 27 2's, 5 3's, 8-14 FTs, 6 fouls

Metamora Individual Leaders:
2's | Kaylee Hieronymus (5)
3's | Lexi McClure (3)
FTs | Kaylee Hieronymus (3-5)

Next Game:
Saturday, December 22nd
@ Ottawa Pirates (10-2) (3-0)
12:00 pm tipoff
Updates | @MetamoraGBB
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