Columbus East’s boys basketball team caught fire early and stayed in rhythm the entire night against Rushville.
East started the game with a 16-0 run with 3 minutes left in the opening quarter. The Olympians kept the momentum for the entire game on its way to a 67-33 victory.
Rushville scored five points in the first five minutes of the game and did not score again until 3:50 left in the second quarter. Tanner McFall set the tone early on both sides of the floor by scoring 12 points and forcing five steals in the first quarter. He led all scores with 20 points.
“I try to challenge our seniors to step up and go out and play with some energy,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “I thought all of our seniors did that, not just offensively but defensively. I really liked their effort.”
East pushed the ball in the open court allowing McFall to get easy points and score on two dunks allowing his teammates to feed off of his energy. Senior Chaz Painter played a solid game and his 10 points in the first half helped East walk into the locker room with a 33-15 lead over the Lions.
The Olympians picked up where they left off by opening the third quarter with a 13-0 run to push the lead even more. Painter ended the game with 18 points and junior Max Nolting added 10 points as well.
“In practice we’ve been talking about really running the floor and keeping our transition under control,” McFall said. “When you do the right things the ball is going to find you. My teammates did a great job of finding me. Chaz did a great job of staying getting strong, keeping under the rim getting rebounds and doing the little things.”
East held all players under double-digit scoring for the Lions. Austyn Farley was Rushville’s leading scorer with nine points and Duncan Draper finished with six.
The Olympians did not allow many second-chance opportunities as they out rebounded Rushville 26-6 and forced 10 steals. They took advantage at the line hitting 11 of their 13 free throws to keep the distance.
Wednesday night’s win snaps a three-game losing streak for East.
“The team has struggled and now they are getting to the point where the are saying we just have to go out and do what we do,” Chitty said. “That’s what they did tonight. They did a really go job with their execution on offense. We set up and did what we had to do but when we got out, we got out and pushed the ball.”