INDIANAPOLIS — Prior to Tuesday night’s game at Franklin Central, Columbus East boys basketball coach Brent Chitty was asked about his team’s 52-51 home loss on Saturday and lamented the Olympians’ inability to make shots.
Filling up the basket wasn’t a problem for East on Tuesday. Stopping the Flashes and hot-shooting Marcus Burk from doing the same, however, was.
Burk, one of the state’s leading scorers, poured in 40 points, and a fourth-quarter 3-point barrage from Zach Sanders wasn’t quite enough to get the Olympians over the hump in an 87-79 defeat.
Shots were falling for Columbus East (9-9) from the outset. Sanders hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first two and a half minutes, Max Nolting put in three shots from behind the arc in the second quarter and Alex Galle powered his way to 10 first-half points down low. The Olympians had almost as many points in the first half Tuesday (41) as they did all of Saturday night.
That still wasn’t enough. Burk had 17 points, and Grant Pedigo added 15 in the first two quarters, and a half that saw nine ties and five lead changes ended with the Flashes (15-5) holding a six-point advantage.
East got within one on a pair of occasions in the third quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Jake Cerbone and Burk powered an 8-0 run that helped put Franklin Central up, 70-61, heading into the final quarter.
Burk, who finished with five 3s and hit 15 of 18 foul shots, scored 16 points in the third period alone.
The Olympians refused to back down. Sanders opened the fourth with consecutive 3s to cut the deficit to three, and the visitors crept to within two on a pair of occasions down the stretch, the last on a Sanders basket with 2:17 to go that made it 79-77.
Burk drew a foul while shooting a 3-pointer at the other end, however, and his three makes from the line gave the Flashes a five-point cushion. East got no closer the rest of the way.
Sanders hit six shots from long range on the way to a team-high 24 points for the Olympians, and Galle added 14 points in a losing effort. Three other East players chipped in nine points each, while Parker Chitty dished out 12 assists.
Pedigo contributed 20 points for Franklin Central.
Columbus East will be back at home against Madison on Friday before facing another tough road test Saturday night against Martinsville.