Gibson girls hold off Evansville team to win Sectional 32 title
FORT BRANCH -- Former Indiana University Men's Basketball coach Bobby Knight once said, "I've never lost a game; I either won or I learned from the game."
Applying the same philosophy, the Gibson girls basketball team did not lose their game to Evansville Memorial back on Dec. 4. The Titans learned from it.
The Lady Titans learned to embrace a toughness in their style of play and they needed it Saturday night.
Gibson Southern withstood a fourth-quarter charge by the same Lady Tigers basketball team and walked away with a 65-52 to claim the Class 3A Sectional 32 championship inside the Titan Dome.
"I could not be more proud of these girls tonight," first-year Titan coach Kyle Brasher said. "All week and really since Dec. 4 we knew we had to be tough and physical because Memorial is a great team and our girls stepped up and did everything we asked of them tonight."
The sectional championship is the Titans first since 2012 and ended Memorial's streak of three consecutive championships.
Gibson Southern led wire-to-wire, but it was far from easy.
Despite having a lead of nearly 10 points or more most of the game, the Titans could not deliver the knockout punch until midway through the fourth quarter.
The Tigers scored the first four points of the fourth to trim the Titans lead to 43-39 with just over six minutes left in the game.
But Meredith Raley had an answer. The junior took a pass in the lane from Kami Miller and finished at the rim for a six-point lead.
Raley then fought for a defensive rebound, was fouled and hit two free throws to push the lead back to eight points.
Memorial would come no closer than seven points the rest of the game.
"The main thing there was we just kept our composure," Raley said. "And we just kept doing what coach wanted us to do."
After scoring 35 points in Friday night's semifinal win, Raley poured in a game-high 23 points to go along with 11 boards Saturday night.
"This just feels so great knowing the whole community was here watching and supporting us tonight," Raley said. "And knowing Memorial beat us last
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year and earlier this year made it even better."
Tabby Klem and Kami Miller both added 14 points, while Shay Whitten recorded 11 points to give the Lady Titans four players in double figures.
Klem also pulled down 11 boards for a double-double.
"Being my senior year, with these girls and beating Memorial after they beat us last year, this is just awesome," Klem said. "I am just speechless about it."
The Titans will face Vincennes Lincoln in the semifinals of the regional at Charlestown next Saturday morning.
Gibson Southern takes an 18-game winning streak into the matchup.
Lincoln, who defeated Princeton in the Sectional 31 championship game Saturday night, also defeated the Titans back on Nov. 10.