PEORIA, Illinois (WMBD) – The start of college basketball season was a great one for three Central Illinois teams.

The Illini beat Eastern Illinois 80-52, Bradley survived a furious comeback at UAB 73-71 in overtime with Darius Hannah hitting the game winner with two seconds left, and Illinois State beat Lourdes University 75-56 at home.

The Metamora Redbirds began their state title defense with their first practice Monday night. Cooper Koch, a senior transfer from Peoria Notre Dame, will look to fill the shoes of Ethan Kizer. He says he’s fitting in with the Redbirds well.

Leaving my friends definitely hurt but meeting these guys and being able to work with them has been a smooth transition for the most part. It’s going great so far. Leading up to this, going to open gym, and lifting with they guys has built great comradery and I think we’re going to have a great season.

Cooper Koch, Metamora Senior

Everbody’s fitting in real nicely especially Cooper. He’s coming in really nicely and everybody’s got a new role this year and they’ve got to embrace that. Look forward you know? State isn’t guaranteed, anything isn’t guaranteed, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

Tyler Mason, Metamora Senior

We’ve trying to do something that hasn’t been done before and that’s go three times in row. But we’re not looking at that right now just looking to get together as a team, be a part of something bigger than themselves and just go from there

Danny Grieves, Metamora Head Coach