A few possessions here and there were the difference between a winning and losing season for Columbus East last boys basketball season.

The Olympians lost two games by one point and two more by three points. Seven of their losses were by seven points or fewer.

As a result, East finished 11-13 for the second consecutive year. The Olympians will look to win those close games and have a winning season this year.

“I’m very pleased with the way we’ve been practicing,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “We’ve really been playing by committee. I think one of the strengths will be, they’ve started to play unselfishly and play as a team, and they’ve really been fun to coach.”

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Back to lead the Olympians is 5-foot-10 senior point guard Max Nolting. He averaged about 8 points a game last season.

Thomas Myers, a 6-3 senior who averaged about 8 points a game, returns, as does 6-5 junior Matthew Frost, who was a part-time starter and averaged about 11 a game.

“Max is a great ballhandler for us, and his leadership is solid,” Chitty said. “Between him and Drew Johnson, they get us going.”

Johnson, a 5-9 junior, has seen varsity action the past two years and will play one of the guard spots. Drew Hasson, a 6-2 senior, has the inside track on the other starting spot.

Three other players up from the junior varsity — 6-2 senior Dane Denniston, 6-1 senior Wyatt Koopman and 6-2 junior Carson Whitehead — figure to contribute. East also could get a boost from football players who have yet to come out for practice because of that team’s success.

“I think we’re more of a perimeter-type team with guys that have some good post-up ability,” Chitty said. “We have to take good shots and defend well.”

The Olympians have a goal of winning the Hoosier Hills Conference, although that may be a tall order given the presence of Class 4A preseason No. 1 New Albany. East will get to play the sectional on its home floor this year, however.

“It always helps to play at home,” Chitty said. “I don’t think it will be a disadvantage.”

If you go

The 2017-18 Columbus East boys basketball schedule:

Saturday;at Noblesville;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 8;at Bedford North Lawrence;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 9;Silver Creek;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 15;Columbus North;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 20;at Rushville;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 27;Perry Meridian;12:30 p.m.

Dec. 27;Brownsburg;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 29;Batesville;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 9;Shelbyville;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 12;Bloomington South;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 13;Seymour;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 20;at Jeffersonville;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 26;at East Central;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 27;Bloomington North;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 1;at Brownstown Central;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 3;at New Albany;2 p.m.

Feb. 9;Jennings County;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 10;Franklin;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 13;at Franklin Central;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 16;Madison;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 17;at Martinsville;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 21;at Floyd Central;7:30 p.m.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.