OAKLAND CITY—The opportunity to win a championship comes around very few times in an athlete’s life, and Gibson Southern girls' basketball took advantage.
Another stifling defensive performance, coupled with balanced offense helped the Lady Titans beat Wood Memorial, 67-38, to win their first Toyota Classic Championship since 2009.
“It’s nice to get it, first time since ’09. I told the girls you only have a finite number of chances to win a championship, and then you get old like us and don’t get a chance to play anymore. Don’t ever look at it as a given, always cherish the moment and be ready to go out and play,” Gibson Southern coach Kyle Brasher said.
It was the second meeting of the season between these two, the first also won by Gibson Southern 54-19. For coach Johnnie Bartley and the Wood Memorial Lady Trojans, they wanted to go out and give a better showing than last time. It was evident early on Wood Memorial was going to fight.
“We talked about I thought they kind of took some of our pride away from us last game, and we talked about getting some of that back. The score was important as us feeling like we went toe-to-toe and did the best we could. Overall I thought our effort was much better,” Bartley said.
Those Lady Trojans hung around, as Gibson Southern led 17-9 after one quarter and 32-13 at the break. The second quarter is when the Titans began to flex their muscle, as they went on a 15-4 run. Meredith Raley had nine at the break for the Lady Titans, while Sydney Lamar and Chloe Mowery each had four for Wood Memorial.
The Lady Trojans began to make some inroads on the Gibson Southern lead in the third quarter, as Mowery and senior Kylie Hicks got hot. But it was too large of a deficit to overcome, as the Lady Titans got it out to 30 by the middle of the final quarter.
Tabby Klem’s 16 led all scorers, while Raley had nine and Kami Miller finished with 13. Mowery finished with 12 for the Lady Trojans, while Hicks had 10 and Lamar eight for the Lady Trojans. Klem, Raley, Lamar and Mowery were named to the Toyota Classic All-Tournament team.
“We told them last night, today on our walk-through, they’re a well-coached team, great program. They were going to come out and give us their best shot they had,” Brasher said.
For Wood Memorial, they end the tournament with two wins over Mt. Vernon and North Posey earlier this week, something they can use as a springboard for the grind after the first of the year.
“This was a good tournament for us. We beat a pretty solid Mt. Vernon team. North Posey, we were able to get through them. Good tournament for us, we need to get this thing going. I think over Christmas break we’ll feel pretty good about ourselves,” Bartley said.
While it may appear Gibson Southern is beginning to peak after yet another week full of wins, Brasher feels their best basketball is ahead of them.
“I think we’re getting there, I don’t know if we’re playing our best basketball yet. We’ve improved over the last month. Are we playing our best? I hope not. I hope we can continue to get better,” Brasher said.
Wood Memorial, now 8-7, will play conference games at home against Loogootee on Jan. 3 and at South Knox on Jan. 8.
Gibson Southern, now 11-3, will resume play on Jan. 3 at home vs. Boonville and on Jan. 5 at Tell City.