Washington is a formidable foe.
The Metamora girls basketball team was reminded of this Feb. 5 in a 64-43 road loss.
"We started very slow and Washington jumped on us from the beginning," coach Riley Gardner said. "We finally started to get a rhythm in the second half and played them pretty even, but the hole we dug in the first half was too much for us to overcome in the second half."
The Panthers wasted no time setting up their potent offense by knocking down shot after shot over the Redbird defenders.
The early barrage by Washington was enough to set up a 19-9 lead after one quarter, despite several great shooting streaks by Metamora.
Metamora slowed the Panthers down a little in the second quarter and, thanks to the continued steady play of the Redbirds, kept Washington from building a huge lead.
At halftime, Washington led, 34-19.
Despite trailing, the Redbirds were still in the game to start the second half. Throughout the next eight minutes, Washington changed that by blasting in high-percentage shots from the perimeter and scoring strong baskets under the hoop.
Metamora, for its part, refused to give up until the final buzzer and racked up 19 points in the final quarter.
Heather DeLuca led the team with nine points as she took accurate shots over the Panthers throughout the game.
The team started the Regional Monday at Bloomington Central Catholic against Normal.
"We have an extremely tough Regional assignment and teams," Gardner said. "In order for us to be successful, we will need to come into the game ready to compete for 32 minutes, control our offense and commit to getting stops defensively and limit opponents to one shot by controlling the boards."