The Columbus East girls basketball team had lost four of its past five games since winning the Rumble on the River Tournament and looked to snap its three-game losing streak going into Thursday night’s game with Jennings County.

The Olympians looked as if they were on their way to a home victory after taking a seven-point lead in the first six minutes of the game, but the Panthers knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers to take the lead at the end of the quarter and went on to post a 43-39 victory.

Sidney Gerkin and Callie Wilder helped lead Jennings to its second consecutive win. The Panthers dropped five straight games before beating Brown County on Tuesday.

“We’ve need a win like that just for our program, to give these kids confidence” Jennings coach Kristi Sigler said. “There have been so many games that we’ve been in, but have had a bad stretch in the course of the game, and they needed this tonight.”

Gerkin scored a game-high 15 points, and Wilder added 11. East could not slow down the Panthers (7-13, 2-4) in the second quarter as they pushed the lead to 10 points going into halftime.

East (11-9, 1-4) battled back in the third by going on a 11-2 run and held Jennings to just four points. Claire Cunningham scored the Olympians’ first six points to start the third and ended the game with eight.

East tied the game at 31 in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but the Panthers pushed the lead back up after scoring seven consecutive points. The Olympians made a couple of key stops to have a chance in the final two minutes but Jennings held on.

East coach Danny Brown said the Panthers outplayed his team in every facet of the game.

“They outhustled us, outscrapped us, shot better, defended better and got the loose balls,” Brown said. “We’re just not a very good defensive team right now. We have to stop fouling, move our feet better and contest shots.”

Addy Galarno led the Olympians with nine points.

Brown said he is still looking for the same team he had during the tournament. East has four practices and five games left in the season before the sectional starts.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.