With the score tied at 43-43 with about 90 seconds left to play in regulation, Columbus East sophomore Riley Meade saw that her defender had left her with plenty of space at the top of the key.
Meade made her pay in a huge way, burying the go-ahead 3-point basket to give the Olympians a 46-43 lead. Audrey Wetzel put the icing on the cake by converting two free throws to help East prevail against visiting Silver Creek 48-43 in Wednesday’s nonconference girls basketball game.
“Before I checked into the game, the coaches were telling me to believe that every shot I took was going to go in and don’t be down on yourself,” said Meade, who had another big 3-pointer late in the first quarter to finish with six points. “We ran our offensive set, and I got the open look and hit it.”
Meade had been in foul trouble most of the game, but East coach Danny Brown needed his team to come up with a big play.
“I debated at first to have (Meade) in there, but I knew I had to have her in the game,” Brown said. “She is our best 3-point shooter and knocks them down all the time. I was hoping they would back off her to have the time to shoot, so that was a big shot.”
The Olympians (5-3) got off to a slow start and were playing catch-up for much of the first half.
The Dragons (3-8) jumped out to a 15-11 lead. Wetzel then decided to take charge, scoring 11 points during an 20-6 Olympian run that gave the host team a 31-21 advantage.
“Coach called a timeout when we got down early and said that we were not ready to play,” said Wetzel, who finished with a team-high 18 points. “It gives me a spark knowing that I am ready to play, and I took out some of my anger out on the floor.”
Wetzel is the lone senior playing with a lot of sophomores and freshmen. The Olympians captured their third win in a row and have a ton of confidence going forward.
“This team has a lot of momentum right now,” Wetzel said. “We’ve got huge games coming up with Jeffersonville and Columbus North, and they will not be easy.”
Addy Galarno and Kristen Lyons each added nine points for East.
The Dragons’ Lauren Polston led all scorers with 21 points, including six 3-point baskets but Galarno tightened up against her on defense down the stretch, allowing Polston zero points in the fourth quarter.
“(Polston) was killing us the whole game,” Brown said. “Addy Galarno did a great job of shutting her down.”