Girls' basketball team earns more respect

TRAVIS DAVID

Sports editor

For someone who usually does not pass out until 1 a.m. or later, there’s not many things I dislike more than having to set an alarm.

So needless to say when my alarm rattled me at 5 a.m. on Friday, a few choice words may have been bellowed out from my Evansville apartment.

No I was not heading out Black Friday Shopping. I have never participated in that madness, but if I happen to break that streak, I would just stay up all night.

Anyway...

It wasn’t not long into my 3-hour drive to Knightstown that my thought process started to change.

It dawned on me I didn’t have it so bad.

I suddenly felt sorry for the Gibson Southern girls’ basketball team.

By this time (shortly after 6 a.m.), they were already two hours into their 3-hour trip.

The Titans were set to play in the iconic Hoosier Gym with a ridiculously early junior varsity tip of 9 a.m. (Central), with the varsity to follow.

This would have been a crazy start for a regular out-of-school weekend game, let alone factor in a 3-hour bus trip.

Then you add in the element the game itself was going to be a battle against a Top 10 team in the state.

Not to mention, Danville only had to make a little over an hour trip to the gym.

In case you are not following along, the picture I am trying to paint here is, the Titans could have made every possible excuse there was and no one could argue.

But that’s not in their makeup.

The junior varsity team put a whooping on the Warrior reserves to the tune of 62-21.

Laynie Graham led the way with 11 points while Carson Kruse added 10 points, while seven other Titan reserves scored between four and seven points.

Needless to say, Rusty Reeves (happy belated birthday wishes) has a pretty good squad himself — maybe he will get that postgame interview sooner than later.

That impressive showcase set the tone for the varsity Titans.

Aside from a brief 8-6 deficit in the first quarter, Gibson Southern never trailed in the game.

In fact, the 14-12 end-of-the-first period score, was the last time the game would be a one-possession game.

The Lady Titans scored the first four points of the second and never looked back.

Yes this is only the fifth game of the season, but it was the most complete Gibson Southern has looked this season — including the redemption game against Castle in the season opener.

Two gentlemen who were sitting next to me on the stage in the gym for a period of time were lauding how good the Titans looked as well. One saying “they are going to be a tough out in the state tournament.”

Right now, I couldn’t agree more.

And the scary thing?

The offense has even come close to firing on all cylinders yet — the closest coming in the second half explosion against Bosse on Monday night.

But that’s OK, but you would be hard pressed to find a better defense that the Titans. At least not in the southern part of the state.

I did see Vincennes Rivet play a couple weekends ago, and they really get after it defensively as well, but I would still put the Lady Titans a notch above them.

Too bad we can’t get that matchup.

But a matchup we could get, is a rematch of Friday’s game.

If both Danville and the Titans go on a postseason run, they could square off in the Class 3A Semistate.

The Warriors shot just 27 percent from the field Friday in the 15-point loss. But I would not expect that again.

Part of that is due to the Titan’s suffocating defense, but I would venture to say a small part was also playing in Hoosier Gym. It’s just not the same as the newer, modern if you will, venues.

Danville also has a stud who can carry it deep into the postseason as well.

Ella Collier can flat out play. She has a great shot and can create offense on her own, even against the Titans’ defense.

With that being said, she was still the second-best player on the court Friday, albeit by a slim margin.

Meredith Raley rebounded nicely from a disastrous game on Monday.

And she played physical on Friday. If the Titans get that same Meredith Raley every single night, game over!

But it sure was fun watching her and Collier bang around on Friday.

“That’s what the fans paid for,” Danville coach Kaley May said of the matchup. ‘It was awesome to see and hopefully other eyes from around the state are watching them as well because they both should be playing in all-star games at the end of the year.”

Sign me up!

Travis David is the sports editor of the Daily Clarion and can be reached at 812-220-4843 or sports@pdclarion.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.

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