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CLIFTON – The Falcons finished its season having won seven games, five more than they did the previous year.
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley could not quadruple its win total in Tuesday’s Clifton Central Regional quarterfinal game, losing to Paxton-Buckley-Loda 53-41.
Despite not winning a game since its Jan. 18 victory over Deer Creek-Mackinaw, GCMS head coach Ryan Tompkins said his team had a productive season.
“Sure, you want to win a lot of games. Everyone wants to win a lot of games,” Tompkins said. “We put ourselves in a situation to win a lot, but the chips didn’t fall. But I’ll tell you what – these guys fought. In life, that’s what makes you successful.”
Among GCMS’s three seniors, Reese Simpson led with eight points, including two 3-pointers. Nick Retherford had two treys as well to finish with six points while Ben Eads also scored six points.
One of Retherford’s 3-pointers helped the Falcons (7-20) gain a 15-9 lead. Eads scored four of his six points in the second quarter – those were GCMS’s only second-quarter points.
Eads also tallied two of the Falcons’ five third-quarter points, as one of Simpson’s treys accounted for the remaining points.
“We felt confident coming into (the regional game),” Tompkins said. “I’m just sad for our seniors. They did a lot for this program. This program’s been at a very high level. In the last few years, it’s not the level we want as far as a win-loss standpoint, and their contributions and effort helped turn the corner. Bigger things are ahead. Without a question, I’d like to give a big thanks to our seniors. As captains, players and people, they did a tremendous job of leading us this year and getting this thing going in the right direction.”
Junior Wiley Hasty led GCMS with 12 points – six in the first quarter and six more in the fourth.
“We’ve got a lot of good kids coming back,” Tompkins said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids coming in – and a lot of kids that are going to play a lot of basketball outside of here, and that’s what’s important.”
The Falcons were held without a point for nearly one half of the third quarter.
“We turned it over too much in the second half,” Tompkins said. “They really stepped their pressure and doubled the wing, and we just threw it around a little bit and gave them some extra possessions. We came out shooting very well early. Once we cooled off a little bit, we had trouble handling the pressure. This came down to some turnovers in the third quarter. We had trouble putting it in the hole. We had two long stretches without putting buckets in.”