FISHER – The Fisher Bunnies and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Falcons boys basketball teams met in front of a near-capacity crowd on Tuesday night. The Falcons’ were able to claw their way to a 70-56 win in the rivalry game.
GCMS head coach Ryan Thompkins said this small-town rivalry is special.
“It is an electric atmosphere any time the two teams play in whatever sport it is,” Thompkins said. “We knew this would be a tough place to play, but our guys played with a lot of poise and energy on the defensive end.”
Fisher head coach Cody Diskin also said it is great to have games with big crowds.
“When you have a team that brings a big crowd it makes it fun to play in.
Braden Roesch put the Falcons on his back with 28 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Roesch’s first-half scoring performance helped GCMS to a 30-19 halftime lead.
The Falcons pushed the lead on the back of a big second quarter when GCMS outscored the hosts 16-7.
Carson Brozenec had 11 points in the first quarter, which kept the Bunnies in the game early.
Diskin said his team team started out good but could not put a full game together.
“We had a good first quarter, and then their guards took over and went to the basket. Then we got in foul trouble and the game kind of just got away,” Diskin said.
Thompkins made the call to switch to a box-and-one defense in the second quarter to slow down Brozenec, who only had seven points the rest of the game.
“That was in our game plan that if he got going we would have to do some things differently, and our guys did an excellent job executing,” Thompkins said.
GCMS pulled away in the third quarter with a 19-11 advantage in the first eight minutes of the second half. That run gave the Falcons a 49-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Will Delaney would not let his Bunnies go away lightly, scoring 13 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Fisher cut the Falcon lead to 11 on multiple occasions but could not string together enough stops to complete the comeback. The Falcons’ Cade Elliot was part of the problem for the Bunnies as he poured in seven of his 18 points in the final eight minutes.
Thompkins said it was a big win for a team that has started slow following a third-place finish in last year’s 2A state tournament.
“We are still learning; we got a lot of guys who are learning on the fly,” Thompkins said. “We thought as a program we had a great tournament down in Monticello. We were only able to get one win down there, but I thought we used that to get ourselves ready for tonight, and I thought the guys came out and played well.”
GCMS improved to 4-8 on the season while Fisher fell to 3-13.
Both teams will now head to El Paso-Gridley for the McClean County/HOIC tournament that starts Saturday. GCMS will take on LeRoy at 5:30. The Bunnies will tip-off at 2:30 against a Ridgview team they fell 63-61 to on Friday.
Diskin said having this tournament is big for his team.
“It’s nice to have a big tournament like this to see how the kids perform under pressure,” Diskin said. “Then after you still have regular season games to work on what didn’t go right.
You can contact Ryan Birch at RBirch@Rantoulpress.com or on Twitter @RyanBirchRP