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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Redbirds soar over Pekin

  • The Metamora boys basketball team needed production from two Kennells to offset the output from one Hilst from Pekin on Saturday night.

    Brothers Joe and Nate Kennell combined for 37 points to lead the host Redbirds past the Dragons 54-40 in Mid-Illini play.
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  • The Metamora boys basketball team needed production from two Kennells to offset the output from one Hilst from Pekin on Saturday night. Brothers Joe and Nate Kennell combined for 37 points to lead the host Redbirds past the Dragons 54-40 in Mid-Illini play. Bryce Hilst went 9-for-11 from the floor and finished with a game-high 25 points for Pekin, which got scoring from only two other players in the loss. Joe Kennell, a senior, finished with 15 points, five assists and three steals, while Nate, a sophomore, went 5-of-7 on 3-pointers and led the Redbirds with 22 points. “They have such good chemistry,” Metamora coach Danny Grieves said of the two brothers. “Our whole team does. We had 18 baskets, and had a lot of guys giving up shots for a better shot.” The Redbirds (18-5, 8-3) shot 56 percent from the field (18-for-32). The Dragons (8-16, 3-8) took a 12-7 lead in the first, getting two 3s from Blaze Schramm, two baskets from Hilst and one from Mason Carr. A Hilst free throw gave Pekin a 13-9 lead. “We were a little bit lethargic in the first quarter with our defense,” Grieves said. “We just gave them open looks, and every shot they took, they were unguarded.” In the second quarter, Metamora held the Dragons to just one basket, and started a 23-4 spurt to break open the game. Nate Kennell scored 14 points for the Redbirds in that stretch, capping it with two 3s that gave his team a 32-17 lead with 4:34 left in the third. Hilst scored 16 straight points for Pekin at one point, and finished with his career high in scoring. “Our game plan is to have Bryce touch the ball every time on offense,” Dragons coach Jeff Walraven said. “He leads our team in scoring, assists and rebounds. “But we gave up too many runs, which is very tough for us to overcome. And then our quick shots on offense did not help our defense at all.” Metamora led by as many as 16, and got its final 10 points from the Kennells. With 7:27 left in the game, Metamora’s Grant Billimack had to be carried off the court after injuring his ankle. “There were a lot of bodies flying, he went down, and rolled his ankle on somebody’s head,” Grieves said. “It’s not a high ankle sprain, so he should be fine in a couple of days.”
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