Floyd Central came into Columbus East allowing just under 46 points per game but had a hard time stopping the Olympians from scoring in Wednesday’s Hoosier Hills Conference matchup.
The Class 4A No. 9 Highlanders could have tied New Albany for the conference championship with a win, but the Olympians snapped their 14-game overall winning streak. East’s 79-64 win makes it the second ranked team East has defeated this month.
The Olympians went into the game without senior center Chaz Painter, who broke his wrist against Martinsville on Saturday, but had five players score in double figures to fill his void. Jonathan Foster led the team with 20 points, helping East (11-12, 4-3) tie Bedford North Lawrence for third place in the HHC.
“You have to have multiple players step up, and that’s what our team did tonight,” Foster said. “Chaz was a fantastic threat for us. He put up a bunch of rebounds and a bunch of points. We had to combat that with multiple players.”
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Matthew Frost added a much-needed spark off the bench with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Tanner McFall helped get the team going early in the first quarter. Floyd Central (18-4, 5-2) opened the game with a 6-2 run but the Olympians did not panic, hitting four 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 21-18 lead.
McFall had six first-quarter points and ended the game with 15. In the second quarter, East held the Highlanders’ leading scorer, Cobie Barnes, to zero points after he scored 12 in the first. Keeping him away from the basket helped the Olympians keep a two-point halftime lead.
“Our kids battled all night tonight,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “Defensively, we picked it up in the second half, and I thought we knocked down shots. If you hit shots, you’re going to cure a multitude of sins, and tonight, out kids hit shots. We hit some big shots.”
The Olympians hit on seven 3-pointers. Max Nolting hit one 3-pointer in the third quarter, while the Highlanders were down by three. He knocked down another one to help push the lead to 11, which was their biggest lead to that point. Nolting finished with 11 points.
Floyd Central was down by 15 points early in the fourth quarter, but managed to score eight points in less than 10 seconds to cut the lead to seven. The Highlanders pulled within five before East went on a 12-2 run, scoring the last eight points of the game. Thomas Myers knocked down all five of his fourth-quarter free-throws to finish with 13 points and help East seal the win.
Wednesday’s win ends the regular season for the Olympians, who will play Shelbyville in the first round of the Bloomington North Sectional on Tuesday.
“The effort our kids put out there tonight was a great effort, and hopefully we can continue that right into the sectional,” Chitty said. “Our kids know the energy, effort and attitude you have to play with to win a game like this. That’s what every sectional game is like.”