Metamora girls basketball plays in State Farm Holiday Classic

Justin Miller

The holiday season has been a busy season for the Metamora girls basketball team.

The Lady Redbirds fell to Mid-Illini Conference rival Morton at home Dec. 21, 66-32.

Morton started the game on fire, building a 15-6 lead through the first quarter.

Metamora's offense had trouble setting up against a fast, pressure defense from the Potters.

Kyler Samp did all she could to keep the game close when she sped past Morton defenders to score at the hoop.

Samp also got her teammates in on the action by slinging passes through Potter defenders to set Redbirds up with open looks at the hoop.

Despite Samp leading the team with 10 points for the game, Metamora found itself trailing, 33-17, at halftime.

With an already secure lead, Morton poured the points on in the third quarter and kept the Redbirds from finding a rhythm offensively.

Carrie James made smart decisions with the ball for Metamora, but it was not enough to claw out of the hole the Potters dug for the team.

The Redbirds then got back on the winning track with a 44-41 victory over Peoria Central at home Dec. 22.

In what would become a theme for the game, the teams traded baskets and leads throughout the early goings of a tightly contested game.

Cassidy Ioerger popped big shots for the Redbirds in the opening half to ensure the game remained close.

Ioerger, who consistently found holes in the Peoria Central defense, led the team with 13 points during the game.

Metamora led, 13-12, after the first quarter.

Peoria Central's offense continued to play smart in the second quarter and used perimeter passing to keep the ball away from the Redbirds and find open shots.

Metamora, however, did not slow down and continued to make shots over Peoria Central thanks to a patient passing game around the perimeter.

At halftime, Peoria Central held a slim 26-25 lead.

While the third quarter remained close, the Redbirds were able to find a little bit of an edge thanks to dominating Peoria Central in the post.

Near the hoop, the Redbird rebounding limited the second chances for Peoria Central and helped Metamora to put its own missed shots back into the hoop.

Metamora regained the lead, 40-37, heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The fourth quarter was much less action packed on offense when both teams played lockdown defense to deadlock at four points, securing a Metamora win.

The team started the State Farm Holiday Classic Dec. 26 with a 65-42 loss to Champaign Central.

Metamora found itself in an early hole when Champaign grabbed a 19-6 lead after the first quarter in the opening game of the tournament.

The Redbird offense had trouble finding any form of offensive rhythm in the early goings of the game and was plagued by turnovers and missed shots.

In the second quarter, Metamora awoke and began to knock down shots thanks to smarter decisions with the ball.

Ioerger helped the team by weaving through defenders to pop high percentage shots.

Ioerger's offensive output led the Redbird squad with 13 points for the game.

Despite the better play on offense, the defense could not slow down the opposition and Metamora trailed, 33-19.

Metamora's offense continued the improved play in the third quarter but Champaign never slowed down.

Throughout the second half, much like the first half, Champaign Central scored at will from anywhere on the court and Metamora's defense could not find the answer.

Although the team continued to play hard until the final buzzer, Metamora could not dig out of the hole and fell.

The team next plays at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against Limestone.