Nashville faces veteran Falcons
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley rides 31-game win-streak to Carver Arena
- The Nashville Hornets have made yet another trip to Peoria, their first since a second place finish and seventh appearance at Carver Arena since the finals were moved there in 1996.

The first state finals showing in the schools history, in 1978, produced a state championship.

Speaking of history head coach Wayne Harre, if the Hornets win their next two games, would become the first head coach in IHSA history to win both the girl's title and the boy's title.

Harre lead the Hornettes to the 2A title back in 2012-13.

However much work has to be done before that happens as they face a foe that has won 31-straight games and are unbeaten when the have put a full team on the court.

The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Falcons are making their first appearance at Peoria ever and their first state finals since 1979-80 when it was just Gibson City before the consolidation.

But this boy's program has had a lot of recent success in their other main sport.

The Falcons have won back-to-back 2A state football championships and many of these same kids played on those consecutive unbeaten teams (28-0).

Head coach Ryan Hopkins has a senior led club, that were still practicing football when their makeshift junior varsity lineup played four games in their own Thanksgiving Tournament.

The Falcons went 2-2 in those four games.

They haven't tasted defeat since as they now sit at 32-2 with their 52-37 supersectional win over Pleasant Plains on Tuesday night at Springfield in the books.

Head coach Ryan Tompkins has three starters all averaging double-figures in scoring.

Six-foot-two senior Bryce Barnes (14.1 p.p.g.) and 6-foot-5 senior Ryland Holt (14.4 p.p.g.) along with 6-foot-2 senior Connor Birky (12.6 p.p.g./3.9 a.p.g.) are all capable of big games.

Holt averages nearly a double-double as he is the top “glass man” at 9.5 rebounds a contest while Birky snags seven boards a night.

Six-foot-one senior Ben Freehill and 5-foot-11 senior Caleb Bleich both are in the six point range in scoring.

The Falcons won two regular season tournaments in their undefeated run, taking home top honors at the Monticello Holiday Tournament and the McLean County Tournament.

The McLean County event is the oldest regular season tournament in the state's history as they recently concluded their 107th edition.

“They have won 31 straight games and they have the senior class of athletes that have won back-to-back state football titles,” said Coach Harre. “They are used to winning and they have played an unbelievable schedule. We are going to have to try to keep them off of the boards. They might be one of the more physical teams we have played this year. It will be a really tough chore for us.”

For those of you who haven't seen the Nashville Hornets, they are a unique team to watch.

Coach Harre has two 6-foot-5 play-makers in the backcourt in senior Bryce Bultman and junior Carson Parker.

Both netted 10-points in the Hornets' 41-28 slug-fest win over Teutopolis on Tuesday night at SIU Arena.

There is just one-point separating their season totals in points with Bultman leading Parker (526-525) for a 14.6 average for each.

But what makes this edition of Nashville hoops so special is that they have other weaponry to call upon for big plays.

Six-foot-three junior Matt Anderson, 6-foot-6 senior Tanner Bergmann, 5-foot-10 junior Tristen Hercules, 5-foot-11 senior Kelton Harre and 6-foot-6 junior Terry Pelczynski all can defend and contribute offensively when needed.

All average in the four-to-six points a game range and all have made big shots during the season that makes it difficult defend Nashville.

The Hornets two defeats have come at the hands of Briarcrest (TN.) in the title game of the Mater Dei Holiday Tournament and a regular season loss in their next contest against rival Pinckneyville, 31-29, in a game where the Panthers “cat-and-moused” Nashville.

The Hornets rolled to a 52-25 win in the rematch a month later.

Nashville won the Wesclin Thanksgiving Tournament and their own Nashville Invitational.

They have wins over 3A clubs Breese Mater Dei, Effingham and also Mascoutah, who is playing for a 3A sectional championship on Friday night at home.

Back to Coach Harre; the only other head coach who has come close to winning both girl's and boy's titles was the late great head coach John Schneiter who won a state boy's title in 1962 with Stephen Decatur and was in the title game of the Class AA girl's tournament where they lost to Chicago Marshall.