East, North basketball teams ready to battle

At no point since the turn of the century have the Columbus East and Columbus North girls basketball teams entered their regular-season or sectional matchup with both teams coming off losses.

Until now.

When the teams meet tonight at East, both teams will be trying to bounce back from defeats. The Olympians fell 43-39 at Jeffersonville on Saturday, and the Class 4A No. 10 Bull Dogs were upset 57-44 at Seymour on Tuesday.

North’s loss was its third this season, which equals its combined total number of losses the past two years and is one more than the sum of their regular-season defeats the past two seasons. The Bull Dogs (6-3) have struggled to find their rhythm offensively as senior point guard Ashlyn Huffman works her way back from an ACL injury.

East, which was 5-2 before the Jeffersonville loss, was off to its best start since beginning 8-0 in the 2011-12 season. The Olympians’ first loss that year was a 69-49 decision at North.

That victory for the Bull Dogs was the first of nine in a row against East over the past five seasons. North’s 61-42 victory in last year’s sectional finals was the closest game in the series since that December 2011 battle.

North is led by senior Ball State recruit Maliah Howard-Bass, who is averaging 18.4 points a game. Junior Britney Ballard leads the Olympians with a 12.6 scoring average.

Tonight’s junior varsity game will begin at 5:30 p.m. There will be a Unified game at around 6:45 p.m., followed by the varsity game at around 7:30 p.m. The freshman game will be at 6 p.m. in the auxiliary gym.

Boys teams look to rebound

Just like the Columbus East and Columbus North girls, the Olympian and Bull Dog boys basketball teams will be trying to bounce back from losses when they meet Friday night at North.

The Bull Dogs (4-1) are coming off their first loss of the season, a 46-43 overtime setback against Franklin Central on Friday. The Olympians (1-2) fell 56-47 at Silver Creek on Saturday.

While North’s game was its only one last week, East played three times in five days in its opening week of the season. The Olympians won at Heritage Christian before falling to Bedford North Lawrence and Silver Creek.

North senior Alex King is averaging a double-double with 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game. Senior point guard Nathan VanDeventer adds 10.4 points.

East has four players averaging in double figures, led by senior Jonathan Foster at 13.7. Junior point guard Max Nolting adds 12.3, while senior Tanner McFall averages 12.0 and senior Chaz Painter contributes 10.7.

The two teams split a pair of meetings last season. The Olympians won the regular-season matchup, but the Bull Dogs avenged that loss in the opening round of the sectional.

East senior Mr. Football finalist

Columbus East senior center Harry Crider was a finalist for the Indiana Mr. Football award.

Brownsburg quarterback Hunter Johnson was named Mr. Football last week. He beat out a group of nine other finalists — one at each position — including Crider, who represented the offensive line.

Crider was selected to this year’s Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 team and to the Associated Press Class 5A All-State squad. He has committed to play at Indiana University.

Staffs to host baseball camp

The Columbus East and Columbus North coaching staffs and players will host the Youth Baseball Skills Camp from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 29 at North and from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 30 at East.

The camp, which is for kindergarten to Grade 8, will cover hitting and defensive skills. Players must bring a helmet, glove and bat.