NEW ALBANY — Columbus East had no answer for New Albany forward Chyna Anthony on Wednesday night.
Anthony, who has committed to play at Northern Kentucky, was able to break through any defense the Olympians threw at her from the inside. She finished with a game-high 26 points to send East home with a 69-48 Hoosier Hills Conference girls basketball loss.
Anthony scored 11 of those 26 in the first quarter, but picked up foul trouble and was sitting on the bench in the second quarter. The Olympians seemed to have ignited a spark when Britney Ballard released the ball right off her finger tips as the buzzer sounded to drain a 3-pointer to only trail 16-12.
East could not take advantage, though. The Bulldogs outscored the Olympians 14-7 in the second quarter and led 30-19 at halftime.
“There was two areas of the game we did not play well at — offense and defense,” East coach Danny Brown said. “We had key players in foul trouble. They outhustled us inside.”
The Olympians (11-8, 1-3) found their energy to start the second half with an 8-0 run. Kristen Lyons hit a basket inside, and then Whitley Rankin sank a 3-point basket. After three free throws, East trailed only 30-27.
After Anthony scored a basket inside, New Albany (14-5, 4-1) called a timeout. Following the timeout, the Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run to take a 41-27 lead. After Lyons hit a couple layups inside, New Albany used an 11-3 run to lead 52-34 and put the game away.
“Two minutes into the second half was a nice comeback,” Brown said. “We scored the first eight points in the second half, then all of a sudden, it quickly fell apart. We started giving away layups.”
Ballard and Lyons each finished with nine points.
For East to win more games, Brown said the defense has improve.
“For the first 16 games, we gave up 42 points a game,” he said. “The last three games we gave up 70, 63, and 69 tonight. We have to pick it up on defense, or else we will be one and done in the sectional.”
The path does not get any easier for the Olympians, who face a tough stretch ahead against two more conference rivals. They play Jennings County tonight and host Madison on Saturday afternoon.