BLOOMINGTON — Columbus East picked a bad night to lose its shooting touch.
The Olympians struggled through a cold night from the field Tuesday in the opening round of the Bloomington North Sectional. As a result, East saw its season come to an end with a 64-47 loss to Shelbyville.
“We didn’t put the ball in the basket, and I thought (Shelbyville) shot the ball really well,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “That’s kind of been our Achilles heel. When we don’t shoot well, we kind of struggle a little bit.”
The Olympians (11-13) shot only 32 percent (14 of 44) from the field, including 23 percent (5 of 22) from 3-point range. Conversely, the Golden Bears (17-6) shot 50 percent (19 of 38) from the floor and an almost-as-good 47 percent (8 of 17) from beyond the arc.
Still, East was within striking distance for most of the night.
The Olympians led 10-9 midway through the first quarter before Shelbyville went on an 11-0 run to take control. East got back to within 31-27 on a Tanner McFall 3-pointer with just under a minute left in the first half and trailed 33-29 at the break.
That was cause for optimism for the Olympians.
“They were hitting shots, and we weren’t,” Chitty said. “We thought we were going to hit shots because we were taking good shots.”
The Golden Bears gradually began to pull away in the third quarter and led 48-39 going into the final period. East was still within 56-47 with 2:03 remaining before Shelbyville scored the game’s final eight points.
The Olympians had trouble containing sophomore Zach Kuhn, who led the Golden Bears with 30 points. Cooper Lewis added 13 for Shelbyville, which advances to play East Central in Friday’s semifinals.
Sophomore Matt Frost led the Olympians with 12 points, while Drew Hasson added nine, and McFall and Kyle Frost each had eight. The Frost brothers and Hasson were seeing increased playing time because of the absence of starting center Chaz Painter, who broke his arm in East’s next-to-last regular-season game against Martinsville.
Thomas Myers grabbed five rebounds to lead the Olympians to a 28-25 advantage on the boards.
“I’m awful proud of our senior leadership,” Chitty said. “I thought our kids battled for 32 minutes, and I thought we played with effort and lots of energy. I thought we had really good attitude most of the night.”