INDIANAPOLIS — The Columbus East girls basketball team was cruising midway through the third quarter when the wheels came off, again.
“They put on a little press and we couldn’t handle the press,” Olympians coach Danny Brown said. “It’s like I told them, it’s something different each game that we can’t handle.”
Host Southport used a 21-0 spurt to erase a 43-31 lead by the Olympians en route to a 64-50 victory Tuesday night.
“We were playing great and knocking down 3s,” Brown said. “They put a little press on us and we fell apart. We couldn’t get the ball up the floor. We didn’t run the our offense in the half-court not one time in the second half. We didn’t have people in the right position. It’s always something. We don’t have much time to snap out of it.”
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Brown said he told his players they had to stop 6-foot-3 senior center Jaelencia Williams and senior guard Emma DeHart.
“We didn’t stop either of them,” Brown said. “They had two players that had scored 60 percent of their points. (Tuesday night) they probably had 80 percent. We talked about it and talked about it, and those two players killed us.”
DeHart led the Cardinals (14-6) with 28 points, hitting 12 of 14 free throws. Williams did her damage inside, scoring 21 points.
Southport, which trailed 28-22 at halftime, fell into a 43-31 hole midway through the third quarter before that crushing 21-0 spurt. The Olympians (12-10), who were up 14-7 after the first quarter, led by as many as 12 at 23-11 before the Cardinals cut the lead in half with 6-0 run.
East made 12 3-pointers, but only one in the fourth quarter.
“We shot lights out in the first half — as well as we’ve played all year,” Brown said.
The Olympians didn’t shoot a free throw the entire game. Southport was 15 of 24 from the line.
Junior guard Britney Ballard led East with 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers. Freshman guard Whitley Rankin added 12 points, sinking four 3-pointers, and junior guard Addy Galarno added 11 points, making three 3s.
East hosts Martinsville Thursday night and closes the regular season against visiting Seymour on Saturday.
“We have an experienced team, we shouldn’t be making these kinds of mistakes,” Brown said.
Southport coach Bart Collins said his team wasn’t trying to create turnovers with the press.
“We were trying to speed things up because they were hitting everything from outside with 11 3-pointers in first 2 1/2 quarters,” Collins said. “We were trying to do anything to get them out of rhythm. I think the difference for us was Williams. She played fantastic, and we were able to get her the ball inside. We scored above our average, but credit to Columbus East, we had to score to keep pace.”