A game that featured 11 lead changes, including two in the final 10 seconds, saw Franklin Central strike the final blow.
Grant Pedigo converted a one-and-one with 3.8 seconds remaining to lift the Flashes to a 54-53 win against Columbus East on Tuesday night.
“They’re a very good team,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “I thought our kids played awfully well. We just have to be able to close them out.”
The Olympians (8-12) trailed 51-47 in the final minute before closing to within one on a deep 3-pointer by Max Nolting with 18 seconds remaining. Franklin Central’s Mason Hardimon made the front end of a one-and-one with 15 seconds left to make it 52-50.
East’s Tanner McFall grabbed the rebound, drove the length of the court, made a driving layup and was fouled with 8.8 seconds remaining. He converted the three-point play to give the Olympians a 53-52 lead.
Pedigo began to drive at the other end, and was fouled by McFall.
“Tanner made a great drive to the basket and made the free throw,” Chitty said. “Then, he just got caught up in the air. We were probably a little bit too aggressive, but I like our effort and our attitude.”
East still had a chance with 3.8 seconds left, but had to go the length of the court. But the Flashes (7-12) came up with a steal at midcourt to preserve the win.
“We wanted to cut the ball and get it to either Jonathan (Foster) or Max and get them going up the floor,” Chitty said. “They can get up the floor in that amount of time and get a shot up. Then we had Matthew (Frost) leaking up the other side. We were just trying to get a look. We just didn’t get a good screen set.”
The Olympians led 18-12 early in the second quarter before Franklin Central went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. After an exchange of baskets, East used a 9-0 spurt to take its biggest lead at 29-21 with 5:40 left in the third quarter.
The Olympians still led 34-28 on a McFall dunk with 3:24 left in the third. The Flashes then went on a 10-0 run to take a 38-34 lead.
East came back to go up 42-40 on a 3-pointer by Foster with 6:32 left in the game. After a Franklin Central 3-pointer, Frost scored two baskets to give the Olympians a 46-43 advantage.
The Flashes then went on an 8-1 run to take its 51-47 lead in the final minute.
“Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the effort and the attitude,” Chitty said. “I thought we had a lot of energy for a Tuesday night. It’s just a tough one because I think our kids really thought they played well enough to win it. We just came up short.”
McFall finished with 12 points to lead East. Nolting and Chaz Painter each scored 11, while Foster added 10 and Frost had nine.
McFall and Thomas Myers each grabbed six rebounds to lead the Olympians to a 20-19 advantage on the boards.
“We’re just trying to get better and get ready for that sectional,” Chitty said. “We’re playing good teams and playing pretty well against them. It’s frustrating for our kids because they’re doing a lot of good things. We just have to find away to close it out.”