GIBSON CITY - The Falcon boys basketball team is off to a hot start, winning their first five games before losing to Flanagan-Cornell on Friday.

A few days after sweeping their home tournament 4-0, GCMS went off for 85 points in a 33-point win over Armstrong-Potomac last Tuesday to remain undefeated at home.

Mitch McNutt’s 18 points led the way, as Austin Allen, James Fairfield and Tucker Cribbett scored 14, 13 and 12, respectively in the 85-52 win.

Considering the small amount of practice beforehand, Falcon Coach Ryan Tompkins credited offseason programs and the camaraderie of playing football together as big reasons the team has adjusted quickly.

“It has been a strong start, and we attribute that to our summer program, the consistency in what is done through our lower levels and the competitive nature of our players,” Tompkins said of his 5-1 squad. “We are able to get a lot of work done in the summer between playing in tournaments, individual skill development and strength training, and that paid off for us. From our middle school coaches through Mike (Schwenk) and Robbie (Dinkins) with the freshmen-sophomores, our kids enter varsity with familiar terminology, expectations and philosophies, and that really helped with our short prep time this year. Our kids want to do well and are willing to work to improve. Nine of our 11 varsity players played football, and the chemistry from the fall carried into the winter.”

When asked what has impressed him the most throughout the early season, Tompkins said smart play, rebounding and the team’s conditioning have stood out.

“We have been able to take care of the ball and not give up extra possessions to our opponents. We have out rebounded our opponents in five of the six games, and our kids conditioning has been great,” he said. “Their commitment to the weight room paid off immediately as their legs held under them. We are not surprised necessarily by these areas but very happy that we showed sharpness in these areas so early.”

GCMS hit the road for the first time on Friday in their 58-40 loss to Flanagan-Cornell.

The home Falcons jumped out to a 23-15 lead at halftime, then inched their way to a greater lead throughout the second half behind 20 points from Keegan Bertsche.

Fairfield paced the visiting Falcons with 14 points.

GCMS faced Tri-Valley on Tuesday and won’t play again until Friday, Dec. 18, at home against Blue Ridge. They will play at the Monticello Tournament after Christmas.