It's been a rough go of it as of late for the GCMS Falcons boys' basketball team.
On Jan. 14, the team took on the 10-6 El Paso-Gridley Titans at home, where they fell by 18 points 54-36.
The Falcons led midway through the third quarter with a 25-24 score, but the Titans managed to grab a 10 point run and close out the Falcons and ultimately take the win 54-36.
Leading the Falcons in the charge against El Paso was Braden Roesch. Roesch grabbed 16 points at the rim for GCMS, followed by Nathan Kallal with six and Tanner Cribbett with five. Ethan Garard, Alex Minion and Jordan Blake each also contributed two points a piece during the match up.
The loss put the Falcons' record at 4-11 on the season as they moved on to face the LeRoy Panthers in their first game of the Heart of Illinois Conference tournament.
The Falcons lost, this time in a much closer game, against the Panthers with a final score of 61-56. GCMS found themselves behind 23-11 in the second quarter but managed to make it just a one point game, 52-51, behind LeRoy in the fourth quarter. However, several successful free throws from the Panthers allowed them to secure the victory and take the win.
Roesch led the Falcons once again at the rim, picking up 21 total points to end his night. Seven points a piece from Blake, Garard and Cade Elliott rounded out the score for GCMS.
"Our guys did a great job of battling back against a very talented LeRoy team," said GCMS head coach Ryan Tompkins.
"They converted some turnovers into points in the first half, but we got much better taking care of the ball as the game went on."
Last year, the Falcons were crowned tournament champions for the first time since 2007, actually defeating the El-Paso Gridley Titans 40-36. Coach Tompkins said he's glad his team is back competing in the tournament and is looking forward to continuing to battle against some challenging teams.
"This tournament is always a great tournament and it always seems to be a bigger challenge playing against the traditional McLean County schools," he said.
"But, we were very proud of how our guys came out and competed and got it down to one point. We just need to keep working and striving to get better."
The Falcons are seeded number 11 in the tournament and will look to take on the tenth seeded Heyworth Hornets in the consolation bracket on Jan. 22. The winner will play the following Saturday in the consolation championship game.