Friday, July 5, 2019

Lady Redbirds wrap up Summer Season

The Metamora Lady Redbirds huddle up during a game of the Galesburg Summer League on Tuesday, July 2.
Germantown Hills, Ill. - The Metamora Girls Basketball team is coming off of one of the best seasons by win total in program history, having won 21 and lost 7 games, falling in the Regional Final to the eventual State Champion Morton Lady Potters.

Fast forward a few months, and 800+ points are gone. However, Lady Redbird fans shouldn't fret, as this team is still going to make its mark in the 2019-2020 season. Sixth-year head coach Brianna Morrow acknowledges the loss, but she believes that the new version of the team has done quite well.

"We did lose a lot, but I've been really pleased with this group. They just work hard. That's the beauty of it."

In terms of continuing their athletic careers, Alivia West is at Illinois Central College, Reagan Begole is at the University of the Cumberlands, and Anne Peters is at Trinity Christian College. That's a lot of firepower, at least with scoring, to lose in just one season. Coach Morrow believes that they'll be able to fill those shoes.

"We're not very big, but we've got some speed, and we're scrappy, and we make good decisions, especially for a young group. We'll have several sophomores on the floor at a time."

Perhaps thankfully for the team, a good chunk of the Mid-Illini Conference will be going through that same transition as well. Most similarly, Washington is a team that loses about as much as the Lady Redbirds, graduating very talented stars like Olivia Damery, Sierra Sonnemaker, and Lily Harlan. The two teams duked it out in a 43-42 Washington buzzer-beating win back at the ICC Summer League in June.

The Morton Lady Potters return a very, very good group. Among starters, Katie Krupa, Courtney Jones, Lindsey Dullard, and Maddy Becker (returning from torn ACL), and Peyton Dearing. It'll be a game of who can take down the Lady Potters, as they look to win their 5th state championship in six years (14-15, 15-16, 16-17, 18-19).

That's just to name a couple of teams, and there's still five other teams not mentioned.

It wasn't the 15-3 summer of 2018, but there were still plenty of positives noted throughout the program's experience.

To start, the team made a trip to Murray State University in Kentucky, the first NCAA Division-I camp that the program has participated in since Brianna Morrow took over as head coach, now six seasons ago. Coach says that although she wishes she "would've done it sooner", they saw some good teams down there.

"We saw some pretty decent competition. I was really pleased with the girls. I thought they played incredibly well."

The Lady Redbirds also made a trip to the Fieldhouse at Galesburg High School for their summer league, noted as the longest-running down-state summer league in the state.

An annual trip to the summer league at the aforementioned ICC CougarPlex was in the books as well. It always provides top-notch local competition at a well-run league. Coach Morrow agrees.

"The ICC league, this year, we were without some key kids off and on throughout it. It was nice to kind of see what the other kids can do. We took some losses that, in season, I don't think we'll take."

Summer basketball. That's a large amount of games in a not so large amount of time. It can sometimes put a strain on the young student-athlete, especially if they have other engagements throughout the summer as well. Coach Morrow says that there's no cause for concern in that department.

"We've played quite a few games in a short amount of time. The kids have handled themselves really, really well."

Of course it's worth noting, the dominant Germantown Hills group will be wearing Metamora Lady Redbird uniforms for the first time. Four of the starting five were the JV team's starting five for the most part, at least in Galesburg. This will be a fun group to watch grow within the program. Not just fun, but mature. Coach Morrow has come away with high praise for the group of girls.

"They loved their time there (Germantown Hills), but at the same time, I think they understand that it's going to be tougher, it's going to be harder, and they've got to continue to work hard. They're very coachable kids. They want to get better. They have something, a way, about them that allows them to have confidence. They don't panic or stress."

For now, fans will have to wait until November to see the team in action, but Morrow says that it's accurate to be "very excited" for what's to come in the 19-20 season. Until November!

Fun Lady Redbirds Offseason Notes:
- Ran into an alum at ICC recently. Kari Lalumandier is a Nursing student at Illinois State University, and recently made a trip to Vladimir, Russia for that (for those that don't know, Vladimir is where yours truly was born).
- Abby Coates was named an WBCA All-American at Illinois Central for the 18-19 season. She will wear her traditional #24 and join fellow Lady Redbird alum Anne Peters, who will wear the #5, at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. The Trolls will start with a road game at Silver Lake College (Manitowoc, Wisconsin) on October 23rd.
- Reagan Begole has made it to the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Reagan will wear her usual #30 for former Florida Gators assistant Rick Reeves and the Patriots. Their schedule kicks off with a trip to the Virgin Islands on October 9th and 10th.

Social: As always, make sure to follow the team on Twitter (@MetamoraGBB) or like the team's Facebook page. Bear with the lack of content, as it is the offseason after all. More to come soon! 

Other Notes:
If you ever have any questions/comments/concerns, I'm happy to chat with you. Twitter (@StaabAlex) and email ( will be the two easiest ways to get ahold of me. 

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