NORTH VERNON — Columbus East had a great first half and it looked like it was going to pick up a key Hoosier Hills Conference win at Jennings County.
The Panthers, however, came charging back in the second half. Senior Tyler Vogel led the charge in the third quarter. Vogel scored eight straight points in an 8-0 run to give Jennings the lead for good in what would become a 62-49 win.
The Olympians led 29-25 early in the third quarter before the Panthers went on their 8-0 run. Vogel finished with a game-high 16 points, with 10 coming in the third quarter.
“We knew that Tyler had to get some touches in the third quarter, and that is some we struggled to do (in the first half),” Jennings coach Josh Land said. “He got the ball and finished well. Columbus is a long and athletic team. They blocked a lot of shots, but we did a good job sticking with our game plan in the first half, and we got (Chaz) Painter in foul trouble and took advantage.”
Thomas Myers scored seven quick points early in the first quarter to give East (7-11, 2-3) a 10-6 lead. After Jennings (13-6, 3-3) tied the game at 10-10, Tanner McFall stole and the ball and finished with a dunk to give the Olympians the lead. Two free throws by Jonathan Foster gave East a 14-10 lead.
With game tied at 21-21, McFall broke the tie with a 3. Myers added a bucket, and McFall followed with another basket. Chase Ketcham hit two free throws before the half to bring the Panthers within 28-23.
“They called it tight, but we had to be tough and be strong,” said Myers, who finished with 11 points. “(Jennings was) tough and just kept attacking and getting fouls and doing it all.”
After Vogel gave Jennings the lead in the third quarter, Nick AmRhein knocked down a couple of triples to extend the lead 41-33. Bret Sawyer got a layin right before the third-quarter buzzer, and the Panthers had their first double-digit lead at 47-37.
“We have to hit shots, and we missed too many easy shots,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “That is something we talked about. You can’t be a roller coaster. Once you get going, you have to hold yourself accountable and be capable of what you’re doing. Tonight, we didn’t do that.”
Jennings sealed the game from the foul line late. Ketcham, who missed his first two free throws, went 12 of 12 the rest of the game. He scored all of his points from the line.
“He played a heck of a game,” Land said. “He has been in a new role but he was up for the challenge and I’m proud of him.”
McFall finished with 16 points for the Olympians.