Olympians cruise to tourney triumph

3 East girls pick up honors, including MVP

HANOVER — The Columbus East girls basketball team had three players named to the Rumble on the River all-tourney team after winning the championship for the first time in nine years.

Juniors Addy Galarno, Riley Meade and Kristen Lyons names were announced for the all-tourney honors immediately after winning the final game against Fishers. Lyons’ 16 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks in the 61-48 championship game win against the Tigers earned her the tournament MVP award.

“These girls deserve a championship; they worked so hard,” said East coach Danny Brown. “Kristen has been one of our steadiest players, and she has three years under her belt now. To come out of the championship game with 18 (points) and 15 (rebounds), that’s an MVP effort right there. She deserves it; this whole team deserves this.”

Fishers began the game with a three-point lead, but East ended the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 30-24 lead at halftime. Lyons scored eight of the team’s 17 second-quarter points. The Tigers Audrey Turner did not make it easy for the Olympians to score as she recorded five blocks and two steals.

Fishers tried to make a fourth-quarter push behind Toni Grace, who led the game with 20 points, but some solid free-throw shooting by Galarno held them off. She hit nine of 11 free-throws in the game and finished with 16 points.

Brown said she has been East’s most consistent free-throw shooter down the stretch, and she proved it when they needed her to.

Meade had an efficient shooting night, hitting three 3-pointers on her way to scoring 12 points. Brown said junior Britney Ballard could have easily been named to the all-tourney team as well. She scored 13 points in the championship game and played solid throughout the entire tournament.

“Britney made the all-tournament team last year,” Brown said. “You can’t have four. It’s tough to get three, but we’re very fortunate to get three.”

Ballard scored nine points the team’s first game on Friday against Scottsburg. Galarno and Meade led the team with 14 points in the 61-48 win that put the Olympians in the championship.

The Olympians jumped out to an early 17-6 first quarter lead and stayed in rhythm the rest of the game. Lyons added 12 points off of 6-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line. Brown said winning the tournament took a total team effort throughout all four games.

“We’ve came here for nine years and we’ve been runner-up a couple of times, but it feels good just to finally finish it and get the championship,” Lyons said. “We played great team defense the whole tournament. This is definitely a momentum booster because we got to Bloomington South and play tomorrow, so it is going to set the tone for the rest of the season.