WASHINGTON — Twice Tuesday night, Gibson Southern basketball men were dominated by a team that next season will join them in the Pocket Athletic Conference.
Thus Washington’s 66-38 win in the Hatchet House, where the hosts ended a two-game losing streak and raised their record to 10-3 by giving Hall of Fame Coach Gene Miiller his 707th career win in a 45-year run that is apt to continue.
“I’ll take it one year at a time,” said Miiller, who will turn 67 on March 31. His 707 career wins stand third among current Indiana high school coaches, behind Bloomington South’s J.R. Holmes and Lawrence North’s Jack Keefer. He stands eighth all-time, having last month passed the 700 by former Princeton Community, Terre Haute North and Springs Valley coach Jim Jones.
“I’m sure Gene’s players know that they’ll be held accountable and must give all-out effort,” said Gibson Southern Coach Kyle Runyan, whose Titans will try to snap a six-game losing streak Tuesday hence when they pit a 3-10 record vs. visiting Mount Carmel.
The Hatchets, who won nine straight after losing to Heritage Hills and Jasper, worked to an 11-2 lead in little over four minutes by scoring eight straight points. That wasn’t the night’s longest skein because, after the Titans moved within 37-29 on baskets by seniors Aidan Neel and Adam May early the third quarter, the hosts responded by scoring 17 straight including the third quarter’s last 15.
Six-foot-two senior Grant Niehaus scored four baskets in that 17-0 run and finished with a game-high 27 including 9-of-10 free throwing.
“Our defense was really good early-on. We applied good pressure,” said Miiller, whose Hatchets will Friday visit Princeton Community.
“In that third-quarter run, we made some adjustments to Gibson Southern’s box-and-one defense in which they went man-to-man on Niehaus.”
Ruynyan lamented that “while we played hard and well for 2 ½ quarters, we’ve got to put four quarters together. We got within eight, but then came that avalanche. Even though we were going box-and-one against Niehaus, he was still getting the ball on the block.
“How many of those 17 points came on offensive rebounds? Quite a few. We didn’t rebound well, and we also hurt ourselves with turnovers.”
Six-two sophomore Carson Brindle led Gibson Southern with 14 points, 9 in the 30-18 first half.
No teammate reached double-figures. Six-foot junior Preston Riggs, getting a start, scored seven including two threes.
Neel’s seven included one trey.
The Hatchets showed balance despite the absence of two early-season starters, 6-5 junior Trey Reed and 6-1 classmate Zach Gray, due to knee problems.
Six-one senior Kyle Mann scored 10 including 4-of-4 free throws as his team shot 15-of-17 from the line. Six-three senior Lance Roach, sixth man when the season began but a starter since Reed and Gray went down, scored eight. So did 6-0 classmate Kiowa Jones, who hit a trey.
Runyan, late in the junior varsity third quarter, said, “I hope we play as well as our jayvees are playing.”
Those Titans were en route to a 72-54 win, their third straight after losing seven of their first nine.
Six-one junior Jacob Spindler scored 14 points and freshman brother Ethan 12, each with two threes. In between, freshman Garett Reid, son of school principal Scott Reid and grandson of now-retired Hall of Fame baseball coach Jim Reid, scored 13 with one trey.
Six-one sophomore Eli Chandler added nine, 5-10 soph Noah Bryant and 6-2 classmate Mason Yancey each seven for Coach Mark Monroe’s team.
Hatchet jayvees couldn’t keep up despite 5-7 junior Alex Boyd’s game-high 17 including five treys, plus 15 with four treys by 6-0 freshman Brycen Neidigh.
GIBSON SOUTHERN (38)
Neel 3 0-0 7, M. Spindler 1 2-2 4, May 1 0-0 2, Riggs 2 1-4 7, Hurless 5 4-6 14, Brindle 1 0-0 2, Foster 0 0-0 0, Reinbrecht 0 0-0 0, Malone 0 0-0 0, N. Bryant 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 7-9 38.
Niehaus 9 9-10 27, Riester 3 0-0 8, Roach 4 0-0 8, Jones 3 1-1 8, K. Mann 3 4-4 10, Gere 2 1-2 5, T. Boyd 0 0-0 0, Horrall 0 0-0 0, O. Gray 0 0-0 0, Neidigh 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 15-17 66.
Gib.South. 6 12 11 9--38
Washington 20 10 22 14--66
3-point goals — Gibson Southern 3 (Riggs 2, Neel 1), Washington 3 (Riester 2, Jones 1). Fouls — Gibson Southern 16, Washsington 15. Fouled out — none.
Jayvees: Gibson Southern, 72-54.