JEFFERSONVILLE — Columbus East dug itself into an early hole, scoring only 13 first half points in its Hoosier Hills Conference matchup at Jeffersonville.
The Red Devils led for most of the game in their 43-39 win against the Olympians. East could not find the basket in the first quarter and went into halftime with a 24-13 deficit.
“We couldn’t throw it in the ocean for three quarters,” East coach Danny Brown said. “We were trying to find the right combination of kids who could play good defense and score. I think we found it at the end.”
Jeffersonville (7-4, 4-0) started the fourth quarter with its largest lead of 15 points, but then something began to click for the Olympians (5-3, 1-1). Riley Meade found her rhythm, knocking down three 3-pointers and scoring 11 of her 13 points in the final quarter.
East scored 21 points in the fourth after scoring just 18 in the first three periods combined.
“We keep fighting, and everybody saw it tonight,” Meade said. “We never give up, and it showed. It was a really good quarter. We just know that we have to play like that the whole 32 minutes.”
Britney Ballard had a solid fourth quarter, knocking down three clutch free throws down the stretch to help the Olympians take a one-point lead in the final two minutes. She led all scorers with 14 points and went 5 for 5 from the line.
Addy Galarno scored a crucial bucket late in the fourth to keep East’s hopes alive. Five of her seven points come off free-throws.
“We had the lead twice and needed to pull it back out and run our offense, but both times we had the lead we threw it away,” Brown said. “But I am extremely proud of the effort to come back and take the lead. We just couldn’t hold on.”
The Olympians still had a chance after having two costly turnovers in the final minute-and-a-half, but some poised free-throw shooting from Jeffersonville’s Jaylynn Brown helped put it away. Brown hit all four of her fourth quarter free-throws to maintain the three-point lead.
East had the ball with 11 seconds left with a chance to tie the game on a 3-point shot, but another turnover gave the ball back to the Red Devils.
“I think if we play in the first quarter how we did in the fourth, then we will have a great end our season going into the tournament,” Meade said.