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GIBSON CITY – After rallying in the fourth quarter against Heyworth, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley could not break through, losing Friday’s Heart of Illinois Conference game 57-52 in overtime.
“We’ve got a lot of heart and a lot of fight,” GCMS head coach Ryan Tompkins said. “I’m going to be excited for them when they break through. It’s going to be a fun thing to be a part of.”
The Falcons (6-11, 0-7 HOIC) rallied back from two 11-point deficits in the third quarter, as Ben Eads scored eight points and Reese Simpson tallied six points in the quarter. As a result, GCMS went into the fourth quarter trailing 40-35 after being down 28-19 at halftime.
Wiley Hasty made four free throws 48 seconds into the fourth quarter to bring the Falcons to within one point before Nick Retherford sank a jump shot and Ross Royal scored on a driving layup to give GCMS a 43-40 lead.
After Elijah Bobell scored three points to pull Heyworth even at 43-43, Ben Eads scored five of his own to put the Falcons back up at 48-45.
“I’m very happy with our guys,” Tompkins said. “I’m impressed with our players for fighting back to give themselves the lead. I think they did a nice job of moving in our zone and clogging them up and slowing them down a little bit. Offensively, we did a nice job of transition in the second half and making plays in the open floor.”
After Heyworth tied the game at 49-49, GCMS let the Hornets (9-6, 5-3) run out the final two minutes in their final possession of regulation.
“We needed a little bit of a breather,” Tompkins said. “At the time, I thought, ‘Let’s just play it down.’ We had a foul to give, so once they were going to try to run something, we wanted to foul them and kind of disrupt what they were doing and then just shorten the game to under five seconds at that time. It worked out. We did a nice job of stopping them. You can look at it as playing for overtime, and that’s fine because we felt confident coming into overtime, but they just made a few plays there in the beginning of overtime. They’re a good team in the open floor because they play a hectic style of basketball.”
Heyworth’s Logan Johnson scored the first basket of the overtime period, followed by a Justin Witten bucket on a frontcourt steal. The four points give the Hornets a 57-53 lead it would not surrender.
“It was a tough one, going into overtime against a team that’s a very good basketball team,” Tompkins said. “Heyworth has beaten some of the top half teams in the conference. We had them on the ropes. We’ve got to get past that point and be able to close one out.”
Hasty scored six points in the first quarter to keep GCMS within striking distance, as Heyworth went into the second quarter leading 14-11. Thanks in large part to an inability to prevent turnovers, the Falcons scored only six points in the second quarter.
“Obviously, the difference in the game was our inability to take care of the ball for large portions of the game and giving them a lot of opportunities,” Tompkins said. “We have to get better with that. We are working to get better at that, but until we get better at taking care of the basketball, we’re going to face the same type of pressure. We’ve got to be able to attack it and go after it.”
Eads, who scored all three of GCMS’s overtime points, finished with a game-high 19 points. Hasty also scored in double figures with 12 points while Nick Retherford and Simpson each added eight points.
For Heyworth, Bobell led with 15 points.
The Falcons also lost to El Paso 77-35 Tuesday, Jan. 8. Retherford led GCMS with 15 points.
The Falcons will host Deer Creek-Mackinaw at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Heyworth 57, GCMS 52 (OT)
Heyworth (9-6, 5-3 HOIC)
Travis Meyer 1-0-2, Elijah Bobell 7-1-15, Dallas Lee 4-2-10, Hunter Green 0-0-0, Kaleb Marr 0-0-0, Justin Witten 4-0-8, Justin Witten 6-2-14, Jordan Kemp 0-1-1, Wesley Anderson 0-0-0, Adam Wickenbauser 0-0-0, Carlie Stout 0-0-0, Kyle Schultz 1-2-4, Logan Johnson 1-1-3, Jacob Omahana 0-0-0, Matt Hall 0-0-0. Totals 24-9-57.
GCMS (6-11, 0-7 HOIC)
Drake Royal 0-1-1, Nick Retherford 3-2-8, Ross Royal 1-0-2, Tyler Hinshaw 0-0-0, Ben Eads 7-5-19, Aaron Thomason 0-0-0, Reese Simpson 4-0-8, Axel Doran 1-0-2, Ethan Steidinger 0-0-0, Wiley Hasty 3-6-12. Totals 19-14-52.
HEYWORTH 14 14 12 9 8 -- 57
GCMS 11 8 16 14 3 -- 52