FLOYDS KNOBS — When Floyd Central came charging back after Columbus East built a strong double-digit lead in Thursday’s season opener, it looked like the Highlanders had all the momentum.
But Addy Galarno led the Olympians on a big fourth-quarter charge. With East leading by a 45-40 margin heading into the final period, Galarno scored 11 of her team’s first 12 points to give them plenty of cushion to hold on for a 63-53 Hoosier Hills Conference victory.
Galarno, who struggled for much of the first half, started finding her groove to give her team a big boost.
“It started out pretty rough for me, but I was lucky to have my teammates hit them,” said Galarno, who finished with 14 points. “I wanted to come back strong and pick our team up because they were starting to come back.”
After a long bus ride down, the important conference victory was even sweeter for East coach Danny Brown.
“Britney Ballard got us off to a great start shooting the ball lights out,” Brown said. “Addy took over in the second half. Overall, first game out this early in the season and to win a conference game on the road by 10, we’ll take it.”
The Olympians used a full-court press to take an early advantage. Ballard hit a couple of 3-point baskets to give them an early 20-7 lead.
Floyd Central came back to cut it 20-15. But the last four minutes of the second quarter, East got the momentum back and went on a 13-2 run to go into halftime leading 33-19.
“We have been working on our press all preseason,” said Ballard, who finished with a game-high 25 points. “We were getting the ball to each other and pushing the floor.”
After the teams traded baskets, the Highlanders scored eight straight points to only trail 43-40 late in the third quarter. Galarno then scored a big bucket just before time expired in the period to lead 45-40.
The basket would kick-start Galarno’s fourth-quarter tear.
“That was a key bucket for us by Addy to take it all the way before the buzzer at the end of the third quarter,” Brown said. “We took the foot off the gas pedal there and stopped doing what we were doing that got us to that point. We wore them down a little bit, and we talked about ‘Just keep going’ and got back to the way we were playing in the fourth quarter.”
Kristen Lyons added 12 points for the Olympians.