With the game on the line Tuesday night, the Columbus East girls basketball team rode the offense of Addy Galarno and the defense of Whitley Rankin to victory.
Galarno scored 15 of the Olympians’ 18 second-half points, and Rankin helped shut out Batesville’s Gabi Garcia, who had scored 15 in the first half, over the final two quarters. The result was a 51-39 East victory.
Galarno finished with a season-high 17 points to lead all scorers.
“She made some key free throws for us, and she played a great defensive game, too,” East coach Danny Brown said. “We gave Addy more ballhandling duties this game than probably she’s had all year, and she did a great job at it.”
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The Olympians (6-4) jumped out to a 15-6 lead, keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Riley Meade, midway through the first quarter. They led 33-25 at halftime.
The key stretch in the game came late in the third quarter after the Bulldogs (7-6) had cut the lead to 37-33. The had a chance to cut it to two, but Garcia’s 15-footer rimmed out, and Galarno made a 3-pointer at the other end.
Galarno was then fouled attempting a desperation shot from beyond half court at the third-quarter buzzer. She made two of the three free throws to extend the lead to 42-33.
“That was a really big stretch because it easily could have been a two-point game,” Galarno said. “To hit those shots was big, and we knew that if we made our free throws in the end, the game would be sealed.”
In the fourth quarter, Brown went to a man-to-man defense and had Rankin — a freshman — face-guard Garcia and deny her the ball. Batesville scored only six points in the final period.
Meade finished with eight points for East.
The Bulldogs held a 32-23 rebounding advantage. Kristen Lyons led the Olympians with seven rebounds.
The Olympians were playing for the first time since Thursday’s 58-43 loss at Columbus North.
“We held our heads high,” Galarno said. “We had to come back and play hard. We just had to put the last game behind us because we knew this game would determine the rest of the season.”