Buzzer-beater lifts Titans past Memorial

Grant Essenmacher/Daily Clarion Gibson Southern senior Aidan Neel (5) hit a game-winning 3-pointer against Evansville Memorial during Saturday's game in Fort Branch, Ind.

FORT BRANCH-- Gibson Southern basketball took a dose of adversity and turned around and made something of it.

Friday night, the Titans traveled to conference foe Heritage Hills. The Patriots, who are currently a top-10 3A team in the state, handed Gibson Southern a 76-45 loss. Perhaps nobody in the area is playing better than Heritage Hills currently, but a 31-point loss is a tough pill for anyone to swallow.

On paper, things weren't about to get any easier come Saturday night, when Gibson Southern hosted Evansville Memorial, led by senior Austin Peay commit Sam DeVault who stands 6-10. But the Tigers entered the game dealing with injuries, something Gibson Southern has been no stranger to as well this season. The Titans were eager to put the loss to Heritage Hills in the rear-view mirror.

This was apparent after they were up 23-18 at the half, playing that slow, grind-you-down style they have become synonymous with throughout the course of this season. The Titans have shooters, led by Aidan Neel and Dawson Witte, who if enough attention isn't paid to them, they'll make you pay. Memorial was without senior Cincinnati football commit Michael Lindauer, due to an ankle injury.

Memorial responded by winning the third quarter, albeit slightly, as the Titans took a 34-31 lead in the final eight minutes. Eventually Memorial was able to regain the lead, 44-42, with just 3.3 seconds left.

Titans coach Kyle Runyan drew up a play that, from inbounding in front of their own bench, saw Witte flash to the ball, but was covered. That left Neel to come up off a screen and catch the pass from teammate Adam May. He dribbled to his right, came off another screen near the top of the key, stepped back and drained the 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give Gibson Southern it's third victory this season.

The Titans now sit at 3-5, and will be in action again this weekend against another familiar opponent. This time it will be Princeton, who the Titans lost to previously 60-48 in Toyota Classic play. That game will be Tiger Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. before the Titans host Washington on Saturday night at Titan Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.

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