An offensive eruption in the final period nearly doubled the Columbus East girls basketball team’s scoring, but it fell short of propelling the hosts to a victory Saturday afternoon as they suffered a 64-55 loss to Jeffersonville in Hoosier Hills Conference action.
The Olympians had managed just 29 points through the first three quarters and trailed by as many as 19 early in the fourth period before combining 3-pointers with free throws to pour in 26 additional points.
Coach Danny Brown’s crew went on a 19-6 run to cut the Red Devils’ lead to 54-48 with 3:16 remaining, but East could never get completely over the hump as Jeff managed to grab key rebounds and countered with steady free-throw shooting of its own.
The setback snaps a three-game winning streak for the Olympians, who fall to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in the HHC. Meanwhile, Jeffersonville moves to 8-4 and 4-1 in HHC play.
“We’ve got to learn to put together 32 minutes of good basketball,” Brown said. “It seems like we don’t start playing until we get our backs up against the wall.”
Lone senior Audrey Wetzel fueled East with 30 points, including 23 in the second half. Her 14 straight points from the 2:33 mark in the second quarter to the 6:02 mark in the fourth period were the Olympians’ only form of offense.
It was during that stretch where the Red Devils increased their lead from 29-20 to 50-33.
Addy Galarno finally got back on track for East with back-to-back treys, followed by another seven points by Wetzel, but Jeffersonville held on by connecting on 6-of-8 free throws in the last 43 seconds.
Brown talked about his squad needing to do three things for a win, only to struggle at each of them.
“(Jeff) killed us on rebounding, we didn’t take care of the ball, and we didn’t make enough good shots to get the job done,” Brown said. “If we played an entire game like we did in the fourth quarter, we could compete with anyone.”
Wetzel’s offensive performance included a 12-for-14 effort at the charity stripe, while the Olympians as a team hit 17-of-20 attempts. Wetzel also grabbed five rebounds, along with Galarno, who finished with 11 points.
Britney Ballard drilled a trio of triples, all in the first half, while Riley Meade came off the bench to round out the scoring with five points. The Red Devils were paced by cat-quick senior guard Taylor Sykes with 19.
Interestingly, East connected on more 3-pointers (eight) than 2-point buckets (seven).
“A lot of that is due to the way we run our offense,” Brown said. “But give Jeffersonville credit because their speed and size also made it hard for us in the paint.”