GILMAN -- A 51-27 win on Saturday improved the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley varsity girls basketball team's record to 15-4.
The Falcons are two wins away from matching their win total from last year, when they went 17-13.
"That's great for us," GCMS head coach Keri Dornbusch said. "I'm very proud of the girls and the way they're playing. It's been a great season so far. I just want to keep building on our momentum here and, hopefully, carry this further down the road."
Though Iroquois West fell to 2-18 with the loss, Dornbusch knew her team could not take the Raiders lightly on Saturday.
"We come into each game wanting to play our best basketball," Dornbusch said. "We come into every game to play our best. We don't want to take anybody for granted or come in with any preconceived thoughts of what the game's going to come out like. That's what I like about this group -- they keep working, and we don't want to let up."
The victory also extended the Falcons' winning streak, which includes a win over Monticello in the Sages Holiday Hoopla last December and a road victory over Tremont, to three games. Through all of the three games, GCMS was on a winter break from classes.
The rust showed in the early stages of Saturday's game as Shelby Johnson and Ashton Miller each made a basket and Madisyn Shambrook made two free throws to help give Iroquois West a 6-4 lead with 5:16 left in the first quarter. Claire Retherford and Megan Moody each scored a two-point field goal for GCMS during that run.
After Moody made a free throw with 5:03 remaining in the quarter Makenzi Bielfeldt tallied a bucket to give the Falcons a 7-6 lead with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the opening quarter.
"We're still in the holiday break," Dornbusch said. "I felt like we had a slow start, but they still kept working hard and just kept moving."
Moody and Johnson exchanged baskets to make the score 9-8 before Bielfeldt assisted Abby Spiller on an inbounds play that led to two points. Three foul shots by Bielfeldt then extended GCMS's lead to 14-8 as the first quarter came to an end.
The Falcons started the second quarter on a 6-0 run as Megan Moody scored on a driving layup and Retherford made two free throws with 6:55 left in the quarter and tallied two more foul shots one minute and 13 seconds later.
After Ashley Augilera made a basket for Iroquois West with 5:15, the Raiders' only score for the rest of the quarter came via a 3-pointer by Olivia Gaytan with 39 seconds remaining in the first half.
Following Aguilera's basket, GCMS went on an 11-0 run. Retherford made a basket before Bielfeldt scored on three consecutive two-point field goals, the last one via a steal and fastbreak layup with 2:56 remaining in the half that extended the Falcons' lead to 28-10 before Moody capped the spurt with a 3-pointer that made the score 31-10.
Gaytan's trey concluded the first-half scoring. After Merrick Sweeney opened up the third-quarter scoring with a two-point field goal, GCMS ended the quarter with a 17-2 run.
Retherford made two free throws with 6:16 left in the third quarter before Moody tallied two foul shots with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the quarter. Two baskets by Bielfeldt and a 3-pointer by Retherford were followed by a tipped pass by Moody that led to a fastbreak layup by Moody via a Bielfeldt assist that extended the Falcons' lead to 44-15.
"Defensively, we were trying something new out there, but they're still working hard. They're getting their hands on the balls," Dornbusch said. "That's what we've really been pushing this year -- a solid defensive effort the whole game through. No matter who's on the floor, we're always working hard on defense and getting our hands on the ball. If we can limit the other team's points, that's just easier for us. If we can turn them over, it translates into easy baskets for us. It's good to see the hard work paying off for them."
Aguilera tallied a two-point basket to end GCMS's 13-0 run before a Hannah Hathaway 3-pointer and a free throw by Ryleigh Brown extended the Falcons' lead to 48-17 as the third quarter came to an end.
Due to GCMS reaching an advantage beyond 30 points, the fourth quarter would be played with a running clock.
Johnson made a 3-pointer before Hathaway tallied two free throws to make the score 50-20.
Anahi Munoz made a bucket and Johnson drained a 3-pointer to cut Iroquois West's deficit to 50-25 before Emma Swanson came off the bench for GCMS to make a free throw that made the score 51-25. Johnson then made a basket while being fouled with 8.4 seconds remaining the conclude the scoring at 51-27.
Seven Falcons reached the scoring column, including double-digit scoring efforts from Bielfeldt (15 points), Moody (14 points) and Retherford (13 points). Hathaway had five points while Spiller had two points and Brown and Swanson each had one point.
"We had quality scoring from a lot of girls," Dornbusch said. "It's nice to see that well-rounded scoring. Teams can't focus on one person."
After playing at El Paso-Gridley on Monday, GCMS will host Heyworth on Thursday and Cissna Park next Saturday before going to Lexington the following Monday. The eight-day stretch of games will soon be followed by the Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament.
"Hopefully, we'll have a good showing there," Dornbusch said.
The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley junior varsity girls basketball team won 33-29 Saturday over Iroquois West.
Skyler Funk scored GCMS's lone two first-quarter points as Iroquois West took a 6-2 lead. In the second quarter, Kadyn Barnes made a 3-pointer and Kennedy Fanson and Ashley Hyatt each made a two-point field goal as the Falcons went into halftime trailing 14-9.
The Falcons then outscored Iroquois West 14-9 in the third quarter to tie the game as Fanson had six points, Barnes and Anneliese Kerchenfaut each had three points and Emma Swanson added a two-point basket.
In the fourth quarter, GCMS outscored the Raiders 10-6 with all points coming via free throws. Barnes made 4-of-6 foul-shot attempts while Funk and Hyatt each went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Barnes finished the game with a team-high 10 points while Fanson had eight points, Funk and Hyatt each had five points, Kerchenfaut had three points and Swanson had two points.
HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY GIRLS
GCMS 51, Iroquois West 27
GCMS 14 17 17 3 -- 51
IW 8 5 4 10 -- 27
Claire Retherford 3-6-13, Makenzi Bielfeldt 6-3-15, Hannah Hathaway 1-2-5, Rylee Tompkins 0-0-0, Megan Moody 5-3-14, Emily Clinton 0-0-0, Abby Spiller 1-0-2, Jenny Patel 0-0-0, Ryleigh Brown 0-1-1, Kadyn Barnes 0-0-0, Kennedy Fanson 0-0-0, Skyler Funk 0-0-0, Emma Swanson 0-1-1. Totals 16-16-51.
Iroquois West (2-18)
Jacey Stiers 0-0-0, Merrick Sweeney 1-0-2, Shelby Johnson 5-1-12, Ashton Miller 1-0-2, Madisyn Shambrok 0-2-2, Olivia Gaytan 1-0-3, Anahi Munoz 1-0-2, Lesly Andrade 1-0-2, Taylor Talbert 0-0-0, Emma Lopez 0-0-0, Ashley Aguilera 1-0-2. Totals 11-2-27.
3-pointers -- GCMS 3 (Retherford, Hathaway, Moody). Iroquois West 3 (Johnson 2, Gaytan).
JUNIOR VARSITY GIRLS
GCMS 33, Iroquois West 29
GCMS 2 7 14 10 -- 33
IW 6 8 9 6 -- 29
London Hixson 0-0-0, Kennedy Fanson 3-2-8, Kadyn Barnes 1-7-10, Skyler Funk 1-3-5, Kira Fuoss 0-0-0, Ashley Hyatt 1-3-5, Emma Swanson 1-0-2, Anneliese Kerchenfaut 1-1-3. Totals 8-16-33.
E. Lopez 3-0-6, T. Hartke 1-0-2, D. Andrade 0-0-0, C. Baker 0-0-0, D. Thomas 1-0-2, C. Medina 0-0-0, T. Talbert 0-0-0, H. McCann 1-2-4, M. Tilstra 6-3-15. Totals 12-5-29.
3-pointers -- GCMS (Barnes).