CHAMPAIGN -- For the second straight game -- and second consecutive day -- the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley boys basketball team needed overtime to extend its winning streak.
After winning 57-52 in overtime at Eureka the previous Friday, GCMS traveled to Champaign on Saturday to face St. Thomas More. With a 73-62 win over STM, the Falcons extended their winning streak to 23.
"St. Thomas More is a very talented team," GCMS head coach Ryan Tompkins said. "We knew that. We knew, in these types of situations, they’re going to play very well. They’ve got a lot of guys who can score and do good things. It was a good win for us in a big environment and festive atmosphere."
After winning the tipoff to start the overtime period on Saturday, he made two free throws seven seconds later to give GCMS (24-2) a 59-57 lead. After recording a steal with 3:41 left in the overtime period, Holt scored again on an offensive-rebound putback with 2:55 remaining in the period.
Holt would finish the game with 19 points, including 10 in overtime after recording a steal on STM's final offensive possession of regulation and missing a potential game-winning jump shot at the fourth-quarter buzzer. Holt was playing with his fourth foul since re-entering the game with 2:47 left in the fourth quarter after picking up his fourth foul with 5:51 remaining in regulation.
"He played very smart," Tompkins said. "He played well with three (fouls), and then when he went back in with four, he played very well. He played under control and aggressive and did what we needed him to do, which was to be aggressive on the offensive end."
After Riley Morris -- who scored a game-high 36 points -- missed a 3-point shot attempt for STM (13-15) with 2:35 left in overtime Connor Birky made two free throws to extend GCMS's lead to 63-57 with 1:50 remaining in the overtime period.
Morris made a basket for the Sabers before Holt drained two foul shots with 1:19 left in overtime. Another bucket by Morris was followed by a slam dunk by Holt that made the score 67-61 with one minute remaining in the overtime period.
A basket by Caleb Bleich extended the Falcons' lead to 69-61 with 40 seconds left in overtime. Shortly following a made free throw by Birky with 33.7 seconds left in overtime, Holt threw down another dunk to extend GCMS's lead to 72-61.
Morris made a free throw with 17.9 seconds left and Ben Freehill tallied a foul shot with 12.5 left in overtime to conclude the scoring at 73-62.
The Falcons and Sabers entered the fourth quarter tied at 49-49 before Freehill and Birky each made a 3-pointer to give GCMS a 55-49 lead with six minutes left in regulation. Following a basket by Morris, Averi Hughes -- who had 18 points for STM -- converted a three-point play with 3:59 left in the fourth quarter to cut the Sabers' deficit to 55-54.
Morris then made a 3-pointer to give STM a 57-55 lead with 3:18 left in regulation before Bryce Barnes -- who finished the game with a team-high 22 points -- scored on a driving layup with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 57-57.
After Caleb Bleich steals the ball from Morris with 2:05 left in regulation, Birky missed a 3-point shot attempt with 1:05 left in the fourth quarter before STM called timeout twice and Birky committed a non-shooting foul -- with the Sabers not in the bonus -- on what would be STM's final possession, which ended with Holt's steal.
Barnes made a 3-pointer and Holt made a two-point basket to give GCMS an early 5-0 lead in the first quarter before Morris made a basket. Freehill tallied a basket before Hughes scored while being fouled with 4:26 left in the first quarter to make the score 7-4.
Barnes and Hughes exchanged baskets before Holt drained a 3-pointer to extend GCMS's lead to 12-6. After Morris made a bucket, Holt made two free throws with 2:58 left in the first quarter to make the score 14-8.
Morris drained a 3-pointer before Holt threw down a breakaway dunk with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter. Parker Jackson scored on an offensive-rebound putback for STM before a 3-pointer by Birky with 1:47 remaining in the quarter to extend GCMS's lead to 19-13.
Morris and the Falcons' Nathan Garard exchanged baskets before the Sabers' Bobby Kapolnek made a 3-pointer to cut STM's deficit to 21-18 before Barnes scored to extend GCMS's lead to 23-18 as the first quarter came to an end.
Holt did not play in the second quarter after picking up two fouls through the first quarter. With Holt absent, Nick Twohey made a 3-pointer and Hughes scored on a layup to tie the game at 23-23 with 7:17 left in the second quarter. Hughes drew a foul on Jordan Blake and made a free throw with 6:44 remaining in the second quarter before Bryson Lee missed a free throw with 6:20 left in the quarter after drawing Blake's second foul.
Barnes scored on a fadeaway jump shot to give GCMS a 25-24 lead before Morris scored on a steal and fastbreak layup and Hughes made a basket to give the Sabers a 28-25 lead. Barnes then scored on a fastbreak layup of his own via an assist by Garard to cut STM's lead to 28-27.
Kapolnek and Morris threw up airballs with 3 1/2 minutes and 3:01 remaining in the second quarter, respectively. Cade Elliott contested Kapolnek's airball while Garard also had a steal with 5:49 left in the quarter.
"Our bench did a fantastic job tonight. Lane Short and Nathan Garard have always given us good minutes. Cade Elliott, Jordan Blake and Josh Bleich came in and did a really good job," Tompkins said. "That’s a good experience for them, and it’s good to show our depth in this type of situation. It was good to have our bench play like that."
Josh Bleich subbed in while Freehill subbed out after picking up his second foul with 2:06 left in the second quarter. Morris made the first of the resulting free-throw attempts via Freehill's foul to extend STM's lead to 29-27.
After getting fouled on the rebounding attempt via the missed second foul shot, Hughes made two free throws with 2:06 left in the second quarter to make the score 31-27.
Barnes scored a two-point basket with 1 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter to cut GCMS's deficit to 31-29. Birky and Morris each missed a 3-point shot attempt on their respective teams' final possessions of the first half.
A trey by Barnes gave GCMS a 32-31 lead early in the third quarter before Hughes scored a go-ahead basket for STM. Caleb Bleich then made a jump shot to give GCMS a 34-33 lead before Morris drained a 3-pointer to give the Sabers the lead back at 36-34.
After Barnes made a game-tying basket, a two-point field goal by Morris gave STM a 38-36 lead before Caleb Bleich tied the game at 38-38 via layup and Barnes made another bucket to give GCMS a 40-38 with 4:37 left in the third quarter. Hughes scored while being fouled to tie the game 19 seconds later.
Freehill made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:08 left in the third quarter before Caleb Bleich added another trey to give the Falcons a 46-40 lead. After a two-point basket and 3-pointer by Morris cut STM's deficit to 46-45, Birky made another trey with 1:56 left in the third quarter to make the score 49-45.
Morris then made two baskets to tie the game at 49-49 as the third quarter came to an end.
Along with Barnes and Holt, Birky also scored in double figures with 12 points. Caleb Bleich and Freehill each had nine points while Garard had two points.
After a two-day layoff, the Falcons will play another three-game week.
With their win Friday over Eureka, GCMS remained undefeated in the Heart of Illinois Conference. With a half-game lead over Deer Creek-Mackinaw in the HOIC standings, the Falcons' final three games of the regular season will all be conference games.
They will travel to LeRoy on Tuesday before hosting a make-up game against Fieldcrest on Wednesday and traveling to Lexington next Friday
"There are a lot of things to play for," Tompkins said.
The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley junior varsity boys basketball team lost 60-54 to St. Thomas More.
The Falcons were down 56-43 at one point in the fourth quarter, but rallied to cut their deficit to 58-54 with 46.8 seconds left.
Braden Roesch scored a team-high 23 points for GCMS while Nathan Kallal also scored in double figures with 14 points. Alex Minion had six points while Awstace Grauer had five points and Ethan Garard and Tristin Roesch each had three points.
HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY BOYS
GCMS 73, St. Thomas More 62
GCMS 23 6 20 8 16 -- 73
STM 18 13 18 8 5 -- 62
Caleb Bleich 4-0-9, Ryland Holt 6-6-19, Ben Freehill 3-1-9, Connor Birky 3-3-12, Lane Short 0-0-0, Josh Bleich 0-0-0, Nathan Garard 1-0-2, Bryce Barnes 10-0-22, Cade Elliott 0-0-0, Jordan Blake 0-0-0. Totals 27-10-73.
St. Thomas More (13-15)
Bryson Lee 0-0-0, Riley Morris 15-2-36, Nick Twohey 1-0-3, Dominic Magrini 0-0-0, Averi Hughes 7-4-18, Bobby Kapolnek 1-0-3, Parker Jackson 1-0-2, D.C. Magrini 0-0-0. Totals 25-6-62.
3-pointers -- GCMS 9 (Birky 3, Freehill 2, Barnes 2, C. Bleich, Holt). STM 6 (Morris 4, Twohey, Kapolnek).
JUNIOR VARSITY BOYS
St. Thomas More 60, GCMS 54
GCMS 6 14 17 16 -- 54
STM 17 17 13 13 -- 60
Ethan Garard 1-1-3, Awstace Grauer 2-0-5, Noah Nugent 0-0-0, Braden Roesch 10-2-23, Zander Wier 0-0-0, Tristin Roesch 1-0-3, Nathan Kallal 6-1-14, Alex Minion 3-0-6. Totals 23-4-54.
St. Thomas More
Garcia 1-0-2, Bumba 6-0-12, Quarnstrom 7-4-20, Brandon 3-1-7, Eyman 0-0-0, Green 2-0-6, Magrini 4-4-13. Totals 23-9-60.
3-pointers -- GCMS 4 (Kallal, T. Roesch, B. Roesch, Grauer). STM 5 (Quarnstrom 2, Green 2, Magrini).