By John Ring
Tiffany Sibley scored points, was on winning teams and had such a great basketball career at Galesburg High School, it resulted in her making the Hall of Fame.
Just one thing was missing.
“If it wasn’t for Limestone, we would have made State,” said Sibley shortly before her induction at John Thiel Gym. “Limestone stopped us every time. I keep telling everybody about that. It seems like every day I think about it.”
Tiffany Sibley was a scoring machine. She was instant offense. She could carry a team.
She was arguably one of the greatest Silver Streak basketball players of all time before anyone cared. Sibley was a blip on the radar screen compared to her future counterparts, such as Sarah Larson, Amanda Gunter and Sarah Pacheco. She graduated in 1992. She’s just now making the Hall of Fame.
“You know, the funny thing about it is for some reason, I thought I might make it this year. I really did. My friends would say I was having dreams about it but I’d say no, no, no I think I’m going to make it this year.”
Check out the record book and her name is everywhere. Sibley averaged 24.4 points a game as a junior, scoring 683 points which is still a record for a junior. She averaged 23. 7 her senior year and finished with a career total of 1,806. That was on top of the chart until Larson broke it seven years later.
Tiffany hit 109 three-point shots, shot 72 per cent from the free throw line, still holds a school-record for 17 fieldgoals in one game (against Rock Island Alleman) and had the single-game scoring record of 39 which Larson beat by two points in 1999.
“Records are made to be broken,” said Sibley. “I came back to one of the games and Sarah Larson was close to breaking the career record so I was aware of it.”
Her Silver Streak teams were pretty good, too. In 1991, the Streaks were 22-6 and won the Western Big 6 conference. But Limestone beat them twice that year, 54-49 during the regular season and then 71-41 in the Sectionals.
In Sibley’s senior year, Galesburg was 22-8, knocked off Peoria Richwoods 74-70 in the Sectional semifinal but lost against Limestone 57-46 in the Sectional Championship.
Today, 13 years after graduation, Tiffany Sibley looks in mid-season form. “I had surgery on my elbow this year, I tore a tendon at work. I haven’t been able to play this year but later I’ll join a league.”
She still refers to Evan Massey as “Mr. Massey.” Now a resident of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, she still finds her way back home a lot. “Oklahoma City is okay but I’m still stuck in the north.”
She only has one regret about her basketball career.
“I wish I had been on some of those later teams so we could have won a championship for Mr. Massey because he deserves it. Mr. Massey is very laid back and I was talking to the Cadwell twins here (Melissa and Melinda) and we would talk about when Mr. Massey would yell, we’d say ‘Mr. Massey, you don’t have to do that, you’re such a calm guy you can get your point across without that.’ I enjoyed playing for him. You just did what you had to do. We all knew our roles and it was pretty simple.”
She gets asked frequently about her career and what she has done after high school on her return trips to Galesburg. “When I get back, it’s like ‘Did you play in the WNBA?’ and I say no, no, no, nothing like that. But I always try and make a Streaks game and see the gym again.”
Tiffany found out about her HOF induction from her Dad. “He was pretty excited and he said it was long overdue.”
It certainly was. Sibley was awfully good and in some ways, was a pioneer for the girls basketball program with her prolific scoring.
But, as they say, better late than never.