A red-hot Martinsville team invaded the Orange Pit on Thursday evening and collided with a cold-shooting Columbus East squad, resulting in a 58-38 victory for the visiting Artesians.
Martinsville (12-7), winner of five straight contests, combined a ball-hawking defense with a quick and aggressive offense to build a 15-6 first-quarter lead en route to spoiling senior night for the Olympians (9-11).
The visitors countered East’s four-senior starting lineup with a trio of freshmen, including point-guard supreme Kayana Traylor. The cat-quick 5-foot-8 floor general sliced through the O’s defense all night to finish with 22 points, as well as dishing out five assists and robbing the hosts of three steals.
Traylor’s performance impressed several East fans, including O’s coach Danny Brown.
“Last year we lost at Martinsville in overtime,” Brown said. “They only thing difference between that team and this year’s team is (Traylor). Her speed, ball-handling and decision-making skills are special, and we had no answer for her.”
Unfortunately for East fans, Brown’s team rarely had an answer on the offensive end, as well. The Olympians fell further behind in the second quarter and trailed 32-18 at intermission. They connected on only 13 field goals for the evening and just two from 3-point range.
Audrey Wetzel and Brooke Ballard each scored seven points to pace East, while Gracie Hatton added six points and six rebounds, as well as a pair of blocks.
Wetzel’s quick layup to open the second quarter cut the deficit to 15-8 and appeared to give the hosts much-needed momentum.
But the Artesians answered back with consecutive treys by Morgan Peeden to push the lead back into double-figures at 21-8 and added two more bombs moments later to thwart any idea the O’s may have had about a comeback.
Martinsville pushed the advantage to 40-18 early into the third period before Abigail Wilson and Brooke Ballard each drained triples for East, but the hosts scored just one more point throughout the remainder of the period.
“We couldn’t get anything going to the basket,” Brown said. “We’ve got to find some plays that are going to get us points inside, and we’ve got to do it in a hurry as we have just three more regular-season (road) games remaining before sectional.”