Plethora of Panthers contribute to victory

Bryan Veginski
Fast start: Mark Roth, a Washington junior, scored 19 points, including 14 in the first quarter, to help the Panthers to a 71-57 Mid-Illini Conference boys basketball win Dec. 8 over Metamora at Torry Gymnasium.

Quick starts to the first and third quarters Dec. 8 guided the Washington boys basketball team to a victory over Metamora.

The Panthers scored 21 points in the game’s first 5:27 and separated from the Redbirds with a 14-point margin in the third period in a 71-57 Mid-Illini Conference victory at Torry Gymnasium.

Ben Ryan provided a game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Washington teammate Mark Roth added 19.

Andrew Watson’s contributions were recognized as well.

“This was really a team win,” WCHS head coach Kevin Brown said. “But I thought Andrew Watson was responsible for the win today.”

Watson started the second half and grabbed four of his six rebounds in the third quarter and helped Robert Izaguirre explode.

All 11 of Izaguirre’s points came in the third. He drove down the baseline from both corners for nearly-uncontested baskets.

“Robert Izaguirre just has to stay aggressive, and I thought Andrew really did a good job of making him aggressive,” said Brown.

The Panthers expanded a two-point halftime lead to 59-43 with eight minutes left after making 8-of-10 field goals in the third period.

Izaguirre and Ryan combined for 17 points in the frame and were 7-of-7 from the floor.

All 12 of Washington’s fourth-quarter points came at the free-throw line. Overall, the boys went 25-of-36 from the stripe, outscoring Metamora by 15 there.

Another area the Panthers had a sizeable advantage was in rebounding. The home team doubled up the Redbirds on the boards, 28-14.

“We thought that was a place we could hurt them,” said Brown.

Roth scorched the guests for 14 points in the first quarter after sinking four three-pointers.

Roth made an impact at the other end as well.

“Mark’s defense was as important to us as his offense,” Brown said.

The game started with Roth making a pair of foul shots after Chris Donner of Metamora received a technical foul in pre-game warm-ups.

A 12-2 run put the Redbirds in a 19-7 hole at the 3:51 mark.

Ryan and Colton Underwood combined for 10 points during a 26-point opening period for Washington.

The Redbirds stormed back in the second stanza as J.D. Kamp posted 12 of his team-high 18 points.

An 11-point Panther lead dissolved into a tie at 35 with 48 seconds until halftime on Kamp’s second trey.

Ryan gave Washington a slight edge with a hoop 22 seconds later, completing an 11-point first half for the sophomore.

The Panthers tried a host of combinations and many of them worked well on a night when 13 players saw action, including four post players.

Colt Schneider added 16 points for Metamora on 8-of-10 accuracy.

WCHS 67, Canton 45

The Panthers stayed undefeated in the conference with a Saturday win at Alice Ingersoll Gymnasium.

Washington (4-2, 3-0) was on top 14-9 after one quarter, then expanded on the lead after every subsequent period.

Roth and Ryan again were a strong one-two punch against the much-improved Little Giants.

Roth made four threes to account for a game-leading 15 points, while Ryan supplied 14.

Alec Peters, Izaguirre, Grebner and Cameron Sharp all had between six and eight points for the Panthers.

Lea Turgeon was the lone Canton player in double figures with 13 points.

Washington and Morton are tied for the M-I lead entering this week’s action.