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THE ILLINI GUY

BY JIM COTTER


MAXEYMUM SPORTS BLOG

BY DOUG MAXEY

LOCAL SPORTS

2015 GCMS-Fisher wrestling team in Bloomington for the state meet

STATE TOURNAMENT TEAM WRESTLING - GCMS-FISHER COMES IN FOURTH! – by Tom Benefiel (3-1-15)

The final minute of the meet’s final bout determined whether Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher’s wrestling team was competing in its final match of the season.

Junior Key-Shawn Girkin was in the featured bout for the Falcons. Girkin and Shelbyville’s Jared Finley were tied 3-3 when the Falcons’ 145-pounder secured a takedown with 40 seconds left and then turned his opponent to his back for near-fall points to close out the team’s 34-29 triumph with his 8-4 verdict. During summertime wrestling, Girkin had lost to Finley twice.

Had fourth-ranked Shelbyville won that bout, the Rams would have advanced into the semifinals. Instead, GCMS/Fisher clinched state tournament hardware for the third time in the past nine years as the Falcons finished fourth.

Coach Josh Carter’s Falcons didn’t have a shortage of heroes in the quarterfinals. Sophomore Preston Braaten, who didn’t have a spot in the team’s regional lineup, started the momentum early with a second-period pin in the opening match at 152 pounds.

A bigger stunner came at 285, where Jeremy Smolek — who didn’t advance out of regionals — pinned Dylan Turner, who was ranked second entering the individual state tournament. Smolek’s pin came in 2 minutes, 52 seconds.

GCMS/F and Shelbyville each won seven matches, including one each by forfeit. The difference was bonus points earned.

The Falcons had pins from Braaten, Levi Davis (220) and Smolek along with a major decision from individual state placer Jacob Franklin (182), who had seven takedowns. That added 10 extra points to the team total. Davis had the fastest pin in 1:42.

Another key win for GCMS/Fisher in the quarterfinals was at 106, where Max Harmon topped Hunter Daugherty 9-4.

In the semifinals, it appeared on paper, it was an even match, with each team posting seven wins. Mercer County, however, which won 36-33, built a 36-21 lead with two matches left and forfeited to Girkin and Braaten rather than risk an injury to a wrestler.

Smolek pinned his second state qualifier of the day, needing just 87 seconds to handle Quinton Ball, who one week earlier won the Class 1A state title at State Farm Center.

Other Falcons to win on the mat were Harmon by a 9-3 decision, Evan McClure (170) with a 4-2 decision and Tristan Smith (195) with a 9-5 decision. Mercer County held a 4-1 edge in pins.

Third-place match. The Falcons (22-5) dropped a 40-31 decision to a Coal City team whose lineup included three individual state champions from last weekend, each of whom won by pin.

Four Falcons seniors ended their careers at state: Gage Adams (126), Isaac Horsch (138), McClure and Franklin. McClure and Franklin were the team’s first two wrestlers in the trophy round. Each won by pin, staking the Falcons to a 12-0 lead.

Adams, Girkin, Aaron Carter (160) and Smolek were the other GCMS/F winners against Coal City. Smolek completed his three-pin day with a fall in 1:54.

Girkin had the team’s fourth pin in the third-place bout. GCMS/Fisher was within 11 points with two matches to go and in position to win with two pins, but traded major decisions.


IHSA CLASS 1A LeROY REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP - RIDGEVIEW MUSTANGS SURVIVE PANTHERS – by Tom Benefiel (2-27-15)

The Ridgeview Mustangs survive a furious second-half comeback by the home-standing LeRoy Panthers. The Mustangs advance to sectional play with their 60-57 win.

The Mustangs (28-1) were led in scoring by senior William Tinsley with 15 points, while Tyler McCormick and Austin Zielsdorf add 12 points each. Ridgeview was excellent from the foul line, making 11 out of 13 including many crucial ones in the waning moments of the game.

Big junior Matt Chastain threw in 29 points for the Panthers, while Teddy Harms added nine. LeRoy was nine of 14 on free-throws.

Ridgeview will play on Wednesday, March 4th at the IHSA Class 1A Danville Sectional against Arthur-Lovington at 7 P-M. WGCY will have the pre-game about 6:45.

FEBRUARY 27th - REGIONAL CHAMP

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2 3 4
RIDGEVIEW MUSTANGS 21 41 44 60
LeROY PANTHERS 14 22 38 57

IHSA CLASS 2A PAXTON REGIONAL - FALCONS SEASON COMES TO AN END AGAINST THE SPARTANS – by Tom Benefiel (2-24-15)

The St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans outscore GCMS in the second half by 15 points as they beat GCMS, 59-37.

Leading the way for GCMS (15-14) was Tucker Cribbett with 12 points, while Mitch McNutt added nine. The Falcons were eight of 10 on free-throws.

The Spartans were led in scoring by Brandon Trimble with 13 points, while Tyler Harms had 12. SJO was seven of 11 on foul shots.

This is the second year in a row the varsity boys from GCMS finish with a winning record.

FEBRUARY 24th - P-B-L REGIONAL

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2 3 4
ST. JOSEPH-OGDEN SPARTANS 16 33 46 59
GCMS FALCONS 15 26 32 37

IHSA CLASS 2A PAXTON REGIONAL - GCMS BEATS BISMARCK-HENNING – by Tom Benefiel (2-23-15)

The GCMS Falcons upend the Blue Devis of Bismarck-Henning, 50-33, in the first round of the IHSA Class 2A Regional at Paxton.

The short-handed Falcons (15-13) were led in scoring by Jake Barnes and Mitch McNutt with 13 points each, while James Fairfield added 10. GCMS was one of two on free-throws.

Colton Storey had 13 points, while Dylan Allen added 12 for B-H (15-13). The Blue Devils were three of five from the charity stripe.

FEBRUARY 23rd - P-B-L REGIONAL

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2 3 4
GCMS FALCONS 17 24 43 50
BISMARCK-HENNING BLUE DEVILS 6 14 23 33

GCMS WINS SEASON FINALE AT STRUGGLING LEXINGTON – by Tom Benefiel (2-20-15)

GCMS finishes their regular season with a winning record as they beat Lexington on the road, 72-49.

Freshman Mitch McNutt scored 18 to lead the Falcons (14-13), and Preston Young added 16. GCMS made 11 of 13 foul shots as they were short-handed due to injury.

The Minutemen won only three games this year and were led in scoring by Johnny Olson's 14 points. Logan Elias and Connor Tolan added 10 each. Lexington made seven of 13 free-throws.

FEBRUARY 20th

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2 3 4
GCMS FALCONS 17 43 63 72
LEXINGTON MINUTEMEN 7 15 34 49

IESA CLASS 8-3A STATE TOURNAMENT - 3rd PLACE AGAIN FOR THE GCMS FALCONS! – by Tom Benefiel (2-19-15)

If one time is good, then twice is great, right?!? The GCMS Falcons come in third place for the second year in a row - this time at the Illinois Elementary State Association Class 8-3A State Tournament held at Unity of Tolono over the Calumet Park Bulldogs, 38-26.

GCMS (26-1) was led by the duo of Bryce Barnes and Connor Birky who scored eight points each while Ryland Holt added seven off the bench. The Falcons shot 13 free-throws, making seven.

The Bulldogs (13-7) were led in scoring by Leondre Townsen's 12 points, while Deshawn Alexander added seven. Calumet Park was five of seven on foul shots.

The Falcons set a GCMS Middle School record with 26 wins in a single basketball season (boys or girls). Over the past two seasons, the GCMS Class of 2019 had fifty wins against two losses, with both losses coming in the semi-finals of the state tournament.

Our congratulations to head coach Mark Berry and the 8th grade boys GCMS Falcons!

FEBRUARY 18th - 3rd PLACE

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2 3 4
GCMS FALCONS 10 22 27 38
CALUMET PARK BULLDOGS 4 14 22 26

PANTHERS HANDLE THE FALCONS IN LeROY – by Tom Benefiel (2-16-15)

Too much Chastain and Harms and not enough Falcons as GCMS (13-13) drop an HOIC game in LeRoy against the Panthers, 81-56.

GCMS was short-handed as a couple of players who saw playing time were out for the game. Leading the way for the Falcons was Tucker Cribbett with 18 points, while Mitch McNutt had 14. GCMS was nine of 14 on free-throws.

Teddy Harms threw in 30 points for the Panthers, while big junior Matt Chastain added 26. From the foul line, LeRoy was 11 of 15.

GCMS plays their final regular season game at Lexington against the Minutemen at 6:45 P-M on Friday, February 20th.

In the earlier game, it was the young Falcons over the Panthers, 40-35.

FEBRUARY 16th

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2 3 4
LeROY PANTHERS 15 30 34 50
GCMS FALCONS 11 22 34 40

GCMS VARSITY LOSE BATTLE OF FORD COUNTY IN PAXTON – by Tom Benefiel (2-14-15)

The Paxton-Buckley-Loda Panthers beat their old Wauseca Conference and Ford County foe, the GCMS Falcons, 50-40.

Tucker Cribbett scored 21 points for the Falcons, while James Fairfield added nine.

The Panthers' Dalton Copey led P-B-L with 13 points.

FEBRUARY 14th

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2 3 4
PAXTON-BUCKLEY-LODA PANTHERS 15 30 34 50
GCMS FALCONS 11 22 34 40

IESA CLASS 8-3A STATE TOURNAMENT - WASHINGTON TRIPS UP THE FALCONS IN THE SEMI-FINAL – by Tom Benefiel (2-14-15)

The Panthers of Washington Middle School give the GCMS Falcons their first loss of this eighth-grade season in the Illinois Elementary School Association Class 8-3A state tournament semi-final game. The final was Washington 26, GCMS 22.

GCMS (24-1) was led in scoring by Caleb Bleich's seven points. Connor Birky and Josh Bleich added four points each. The Falcons were three of seven on foul shots.

The Panthers (25-1) were led in scoring by Payton Havens with 12, while both Collin Dietz and Caleb Fisher added six points. Washington was eight of 13 on free-throws.

The GCMS Falcons will play for third place on Thursday, Feburary 19th at Unity in Tolono at 6 P-M against Calumet Park. WGCY will have the pre-game about 5:45.

FEBRUARY 14th - STATE SEMI-FINAL

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2 3 4
WASHINGTON PANTHERS 6 8 17 26
GCMS FALCONS 5 13 16 22

IESA CLASS 8-3A STATE TOURNAMENT - FALCONS BEAT T-TOWN IN THE QUARTERFINALS – by Tom Benefiel (2-14-15)

The 8th grade boys from GCMS beat Teutopolis, 50-34 in the quarterfinals of the IESA Class 8-3A State Tournament.

Leading the way for GCMS (24-0) was Nathan Garard with 15 points, with Ryland Holt adding 13 points and Ben Freehill with eight. The Falcons were seven of nine on free-throws.

The Wooden Shoes (16-9) were paced by the 19 points from Dawson Smith, while Josh Haridiek added seven. Teutopolis was 10 of 19 on foul shots.

FEBRUARY 14th - STATE QUARTERFINAL

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2 3 4
GCMS FALCONS 4 17 31 50
TEUTOPOLIS WOODEN SHOES 4 14 24 34
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