The Columbus East girls looked like they were headed for a rout when they led Bloomington South 42-14 with three minutes left in the third quarter Thursday night.
But the Panthers ended up making things far more interesting than the Olympians would have liked. They cut the lead to four points with 11 seconds left in the game before two Addy Galarno free throws finished off East’s 53-47 victory.
“We came out intense,” Galarno said. “We were on the ball, and then the second half, we just let that go a little bit. So that’s something we need to work on — just little things like (not) fouling and playing better defense and blocking out so we can keep that intensity up in the second half.”
The Olympians (2-0), after committing only five turnovers in the first half, turned the ball over 20 times in the final two quarters. Bloomington South (1-2) had 13 turnovers in the first half, but only eight in the final 16 minutes.
Most of East’s turnovers came on the Panthers’ half-court trap.
“Way too many turnovers, way too many fouls, and those are all correctable,” East coach Danny Brown said. “Those are things we’ll get to work on in practice. But I told them after the game I’m happy to be the coach of a team that’s mad after being 2-0.”
The Olympians never trailed. Following a 2-2 tie, they scored eight consecutive points to tale a 10-2 lead. East built the margin to 22-9 on a Kristen Lyons 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first quarter.
The Panthers were still within 29-14 in the final minute of the first half, but East scored the final five in the period. Whitley Rankin’s 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the half gave the Olympians a 34-14 lead.
East then scored the first eight points of the third quarter to take its 28-point advantage. Bloomington South then finished the third quarter on a 16-1 run to cut the lead to 43-30.
“It’s a carbon copy of the first game (against Floyd Central) — a 20-point lead at halftime,” Brown said. “This time, I thought we came out a little better in the third quarter and upped the lead even more. But we got three starters in foul trouble and had to sit them out there, and they started roaring back. But if you’d have told me we’d be up 13 at the end of the third quarter, I’d take that.”
The Olympians scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to push the lead back to 17. After an exchange of baskets, the Panthers used a 15-2 run and cut the margin to four on a 3-pointer by Kristen Ridner.
Galarno’s one-and-one with 8 seconds left gave her a team-high 18 points. Lyons added 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots, and Britney Ballard scored 10 points.
Bloomington South’s Addisyn Blackwell led all scorers with 22 points.
“I think the first half, we played really well,” Lyons said. “Our intensity was really high, and we had gotten after it. But we need to finish the game. Two-and-0 feels good, but we’re still not where we want to be, so we have stuff to work on.”