MARION — Sometimes all you can do is give the other guy his due.
Or, in this case, Guy.
Looking every bit like the Mr. Basketball front-runner that he is, Lawrence Central’s Kyle Guy did pretty much what he pleased against Columbus East on Tuesday evening.
His seemingly effortless 31-point night — accomplished on just 15 field-goal attempts — helped carry the Bears to a 67-61 victory against the fiesty Olympians.
“He’s going to Virginia for a reason,” East guard Parker Chitty said of Guy. “He’s ranked 25th in the nation (by ESPN) for a reason. There’s no way to stop him; you’ve just got to try to slow him down. And I thought today we did a pretty good job on him, even though he ended up with 31, everything was contested. Everything was a tough shot for him, but he ended up knocking them down.”
East (2-3) stayed within range of the Class 4A No. 6 Bears for the majority of the night and continued to battle all the way to the final horn, but it had no answer for Guy, who shot 12 of 15 from the floor overall and made 4 of 6 3-point attempts.
Every time the Olympians appeared to be seizing the momentum, it seemed Guy or Mekhi Biffle (12 points) was there to extinguish the fire.
There was no shortage of fight in Columbus East, however. When Lawrence Central took an early 7-0 lead, the Olympians fought back to tie the game at 18-18. When the Bears got a basket from Guy to open the third quarter that made it 36-25, East responded with an 8-0 run to cut the gap to three.
And when the game was seemingly out of reach at 56-40 midway through the fourth quarter, the Olympians made one last push, chipping away at the deficit until the final horn.
Had East not missed all nine of its 3-point attempts in the first three quarters, perhaps the outcome might have been different.
Regardless, the Olympians were able to take plenty of positives from the defeat, particularly on defense.
“I thought we had a pretty good effort defensively to hold them to 67,” said Kevin Williams, who scored 16 points and did an admirable job of keeping Guy under wraps in half-court situations. “They’re a pretty good team; they’re ranked No. 6 in the state. But we’re still not satisfied.”
“I thought our kids did a good job guarding him,” East coach Brent Chitty added. “It’s not like we just left him open. … Kevin and Jonathan (Foster) — Jonathan did a great job on him.”
Parker Chitty turned in a spectacular effort in the loss, pacing the Olympians with 22 points, six rebounds and eight assists. And East had an extremely effective night going to the basket, shooting 51 percent overall and 19 of 29 inside the 3-point line.
What it didn’t have was an answer for Guy.
“We told ourselves we’ve got to try to hold Guy under 35 to give us a chance to win,” Parker Chitty said. “And people say, ’35? That’s a crazy number’ — but he’s that good. In my opinion, he’s Mr. Basketball.”
The Olympians refused to back down from Guy and the Bears, though, and in the locker room after Tuesday’s game, there was a definite desire to continue improving — as well as a desire for a potential postseason rematch.
“We can definitely take some positives out of it,” Williams said of the setback. “We’re competing against one of the best teams in the state and we were able to hold up with them.
“But we also need to learn from our mistakes, because we want to be the best team in the state.”