Sages fall in OT but still reach title game
MONTICELLO — Jake Barnes hit a layup in transition and Tyler Hinshaw nailed a three-pointer for Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley’s only baskets of overtime, but it was enough as the Falcons rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to defeat Monticello 77-74 Friday.
Hinshaw flashed a smile toward the Falcons’ bench after draining his second three of the game to put GCMS ahead 74-70 in the first minute of overtime. GCMS went 2 of 2 from the field in the extra period and 3 of 7 from the free throw line to hang on against the Sages, who made 1 of 9 shots in OT.
It was the Falcons’ first win of the Holiday Hoopla and the first loss of the tourney for Monticello (3-6), which will play Ridgeview (13-0) for the title at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
“At times on (Thursday) I thought we played the best we had all year and the worst we had all year as well (in two losses),” GCMS coach Ryan Tompkins said. “So we had to have a lot of resiliency. These guys really stepped up to the challenge and did a fantastic job in a tough situation.
“We’re playing the home team in their tournament — it’s a historical tournament — and they’re playing for a championship. We could have folded a tent and just got ready for the new year, but we really fought, and everybody that stepped on the court made big contributions for us getting that one.”
Center Wiley Hasty led four Falcons in double figures with 20 points. The bruising 6-foot-4 senior battled Monticello’s strength (6-2, 200-pound Nick Stokowski) and length (6-8 Maclaine Stahl) most of the game but finished 9 of 14 from the field and two rebounds shy of a double-double.
“You kind of had to do different things depending on who was guarding you,” Hasty said.
Hinshaw and Barnes found Hasty for a couple of easy baskets down low to get him started.
“They did a good job driving the ball, and they can see the whole floor and see me open when everyone is crashing on them,” Hasty said.
Ross Royal hit four threes en route to 16 points, and Hinshaw added 12 points and five assists. Barnes scored 11 points for GCMS, which shot 53 percent from the field.
“We can point to a lot of things, but our breakdown on the defensive end is what allowed them to get back into the game,” Monticello coach Kevin Roy said. “They pushed the ball in transition, and we failed to slow the ball and get it contained.”
Stokowski recorded a double-double (25 points, 14 rebounds) for the Sages, who are starting to get consistent production from sophomore Noah Freemon (18 points), Daniel Caldwell (11 points) and Stahl (seven points).
But it’s on the defensive end Roy is hoping his team takes the next step.
“We have to be able to get stops and be able to contain the ball,” Roy said. “Blue Ridge was able to get to the basket against us (Thursday) and so was (GCMS).”
Ridgeview 67, Sangamon Valley 28. William Tinsley made 8 of 13 shots from behind the arc and finished with 26 points in the Mustangs’ third and final win of pool play.
The Mustangs shot 12 of 30 from three-point range, outscoring the Storm 36-0 from distance.
Christian Fannin added 12 points for Ridgeview.
“They’re much better than their record indicates,” Mustangs coach Rodney Kellar said of Monticello. “It’s a great opportunity for us to play in the championship against them on their home court.”
Blue Ridge 73, Tuscola 52. The Knights outrebounded the Warriors 41-25 in a physical contest.
Michael Plunk had 25 points for Blue Ridge, and Dylan Trent led the Knights’ strong sophomore class with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists.
“Dylan played huge,” Blue Ridge coach Kyle Watson said. “He attacked the basket really well. He’s a good free throw shooter, and he was all over the boards.”
Sophomore Cory Jayne provided quality minutes at backup point guard, giving Plunk a rest when needed. Jayne finished with six points, seven rebounds and one assist in 14 minutes.
“He’s getting better and better each game,” Watson said of Jayne. “That takes some of the pressure off of Michael so he doesn’t have to take the point all the time.”
The physical style employed by both teams led to a combined 52 free throws, 43 turnovers and Blue Ridge (7-5) holding Tuscola (4-4) to 35 percent shooting. Plunk hit 11 of 13 shots from the line — most coming in the final quarter — to go with his 7-of-13 day from the field.
Blue Ridge’s Will Duggins had 13 points.
“We had a little talk (Friday), and the kids responded. We showed some maturity,” Watson said. “Monticello beat us up pretty bad (Thursday) night. To the credit of our kids, they really responded in one day and bounced back.”
Nick Bates led Tuscola with 16 points, and Zach Bates added 12 points and eight rebounds.
“When we compete and bring a high-energy level, we’re a good team. But if we don’t play with intensity and high-effort level, we struggle,” Tuscola coach Matt Franks said.
Neoga 49, Argenta-Oreana 41. Wyatt Krikie led Neoga with 20 points. Konnor Damery (13 points) and Keegan McHood (12 points) paced the Bombers.
Ridgeview 59, Argenta-Oreana 46. The Mustangs hit 10 three-pointers.
Six players scored seven or more points as Ridgeview pulled away with a 17-9 third quarter. Austin Zielsdorf scored a team-high 14 points, and Trey McCormick added 11. Tyler McCormick (nine points), Luke Ward (eight), Tinsley (eight) and Jordan Zielsdorf (seven) also chipped in for the Mustangs.
The Bombers were led by McHood (23 points) and Damery (14 points).
Neoga 68, Sangamon Valley 64. Krikie (34 points) outdueled Sangamon Valley guard Kyle Reynolds (25 points) in the opening game of the Hoopla’s second day.
Krikie hit 6 of 8 shots from behind the arc to pace an 8-for-13 effort for the Indians, who broke a halftime tie with a 22-10 third quarter.
Reynolds tried to bring Sangamon Valley back in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points in the final period.
Jimmy Staab joined Reynolds in double figures with 14 points for the Storm.
Jake and Luke Baker had 18 and 11 points, respectively, for Neoga.