Washington got off to a promising start Friday.

But the Limestone boys basketball team had a swift and decisive response in a Mid-Illini Conference game in Torry Gymnasium.

Washington got off to a promising start Friday.

But the Limestone boys basketball team had a swift and decisive response in a Mid-Illini Conference game in Torry Gymnasium.

The Rockets, ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Class 3A state poll, outscored the Panthers 31-6 combined in the second and third quarters en route to a 44-31 road win.

“When they make shots, their energy level goes up,” WCHS head coach Kevin Brown said of Limestone, which swept the M-I series.

The loss snapped a streak that featured 13 wins in 16 game overall for Washington and four straight in league play.

Tanner Smith was just short of a double-double for the Panthers with eight points and 11 rebounds.
He did not relent even when the Rockets’ lead grew as large as 22 points.

“What an incredible effort out there. He proved to me he’s a true competitor,” said Brown of Smith. “He continued to work.”

Devin Whitelow of Washington had six points in the fourth quarter to top the team with 10.

Cole Cook hit a 3-pointer, then scored on a putback 39 seconds later. When Lou Griffith buried a trey, it was 8-2 Panthers at the 3:19 mark.

Smith had three baskets in a span of 1 minute, 12 seconds to stake the Panthers to a 14-6 advantage late in the first period.

“We didn’t get the ball in the post like we needed to,” Brown said. “(Smith) needed more touches.”

Washington was held to just two points over the next 11:06 to fall behind 30-16 in the third quarter.

Nick Page gave the Rockets a boost off the bench with two 3s 37 seconds apart, the second of which put Limestone in front for the first time since the first bucket of the night at 17-16.

“They had multiple shooters on the floor and we lost him in that thing,” said Brown. “He’s a kid that really picks his spots.”

After Whitelow temporarily slowed the Limestone onslaught, the visitors came back with 10 consecutive points to ice the game.

A highlight of an 11-4 Washington surplus in the fourth period was a Chet Griffith triple with 1:28 left.

Rocket Terence Shelby had 12 points to lead all scorers.  

Metamora 52, WCHS 47 (2 OT)
The Redbirds gained revenge by going 40 minutes Saturday to outlast the Panthers.

Washington (14-13, 6-7) now needs some help for an upper-division Mid-Illini Conference finish.

The Panthers enter the regular-season finale Friday vs. Canton (12-12, 5-8), which is Senior Night, in fifth place in the M-I.

Washington trails co-third-place teams Dunlap (16-12, 7-6) and Morton (12-14, 7-6) by one game.

Three Panthers were in double figures on the road, but the host Redbirds prevailed with a 10-5 margin in the second extra session.

Cook had 15 points, all on treys, to lead Washington.

Whitelow contributed 14 points and Griffith 12 for the Panthers, who settled for a league split with the Redbirds.

Joe Kennell led Metamora (20-5, 10-3) for the second time over the weekend with 18 points.

Postseason: Washington is the No. 3 seed in the Class 3A Manual Regional.

The Panthers will face sixth-seeded Central at 8 p.m. Monday in the quarterfinals.

The winner advances to play second-seeded Manual in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The Morton-East Peoria quarterfinal winner will meet No. 1 seed Limestone in the other Tuesday semifinal.

The regional title game occurs at 7 p.m. March 7.