Columbus East took command early in the fourth quarter, leading 42-35, but Jeffersonville came roaring back.
The Red Devils went on a 12-5 run to tie the game at 47-47, but Jonathan Foster and Thomas Myers combined to score the final seven points to give the Olympians a 54-47 Hoosier Hills Conference boys victory.
After dealing with minor injury issues for a month, Chaz Painter was back in the starting lineup. He finished with 10 points.
“We worked hard at practice all week and knew someone had to step up,” Painter said. “Us starters were not doing as much as we should have, but tonight I thought we played real aggressive as a team.”
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Down the stretch, the defense also played a big key in shutting down the Red Devils in the closing minute.
“We talked on defense and coach (Brent Chitty) made that a great point,” Painter said. “We forced two big turnovers and that fueled us.”
Chitty used caution at first when trying to ease Painter into the game.
“We just had to be patient. Tonight, we were going to play him four minutes to see how he felt,” Chitty said. “After the four, we went as far as we could go.”
East (5-8, 1-2) got off to a fast start, leading 9-2 before the Red Devils (8-7, 1-3) came back toward the end of the first quarter to cut into the lead to 14-13.
Later in the second quarter, Matthew Frost hit a 3 to make it 19-15. A Tanner McFall basket and two free throws by Max Nolting extended the lead 26-19.
The Olympians had a nice highlight-reel play at the end of the third quarter when Drew Johnson found a sprinting Jonathan Foster, who finished the layup as the buzzer sounded to make it 38-33.
“Drew has been getting better and better,” Chitty said. “We try to play him as much as we can from JV and varsity. He has responded real well.”
The only blip that Chitty saw in the game was the free throw shooting. East finished 10 of 21 from the line.
“We need to be a better free throw shooting team and once we do that, it will take a lot of pressure off of some things we do,” Chitty said.