HOPE — The last time the Columbus East and Columbus North boys basketball teams were on the court together, they were at one another’s throats in a hotly contested sectional showdown.
Nearly three weeks later, the Olympians and Bull Dogs were on the same side, teaming up for the All-Area All-Star Game at Hauser High School on Monday night.
The East and North players, sporting yellow jerseys and coached by injured Edinburgh star Kyle Pendleton, coasted to a 100-73 victory against the Green team, comprised of players from Hauser and Columbus Christian.
“It was definitely fun,” East senior Kevin Williams said, “not only having the guys from East but having guys from all around the area and not wanting to rip their throats out.”
The pace was fast and furious from the opening tip, with both sides eager to get up and down the floor as quickly as possible. The Yellow team grabbed an early 12-3 lead behind 3-pointers from East teammates Parker Chitty and Zach Sanders and dunks from North’s Alex King and Williams, and it maintained the upper hand the rest of the way.
Each side hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter, which ended with Yellow holding a 31-24 edge.
“It reminded me of the NBA All-Star game,” Sanders said. “Not a lot of defense.”
Sanders provided the bulk of the second-quarter offense for the Columbus contingent, hitting four from long range and accounting for 16 of the 23 Yellow points in the period. Six points each from Hauser’s Zach Johnson and Adriane Polley of Columbus Christian helped Green stay within range, but Yellow still had a 54-45 advantage at the half.
Hauser’s Connor Wilson hit a 3-pointer to pull Green within six, 54-48, at the start of the third quarter, but Yellow responded with a 14-2 run to stretch the margin to 68-50. The fourth quarter was all Yellow, which outscored Green 26-11 in the final period and hit the century mark on another Williams dunk in the last minute of action.
“I remember last year we had 134, but we couldn’t do that because there was only eight-minute quarters,” Sanders said. “We had 20-minute halves last year. We still had fun; we wanted to hit that 100 mark.”
Even with the shorter game, Sanders still had time to put down nine 3-pointers en route to a game-high 33 points. East classmate Chitty finished with 19 points, six assists and four steals, while Williams added 13 points and King chipped in with 12.
Hauser senior Quindon Shipley paced the Green squad with 19 points, while Wilson finished with 17, hitting five 3-pointers. Johnson and Polley wound up with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The night was particularly sweet for the four Columbus East seniors — Chitty, Sanders, Williams and Alex Galle — who had one final chance to share the floor after a tough sectional defeat against crosstown rival North.
“It was great being out here with those guys again,” Williams said. “I love playing with those guys; they’re lifelong friends.”
And for one evening, the Olympians were allowed to enjoy a fruitful partnership with the Bull Dogs as well.