Olympians rally in 2nd half

BROWNSTOWN — Columbus East’s girls basketball team is going into Thanksgiving break unblemished.

The Olympians held Brownstown Central to 17 second-half points — including just five in the third quarter — to claim a 62-38 road victory Tuesday night.

The Braves (5-2) opened the game on an 8-2 run, including the first six points of the game, and led by four points by Payton Farmer by the 3:07 mark of the first quarter. The Olympians (5-0) answered with a 7-0 streak, capped by a 3-pointer from Britney Ballard, to take their first lead at 10-8 with 48 ticks on the clock. Baskets by Farmer and Ashley Schroer put Brownstown back on top, and they led 12-11 after eight minutes of play.

East caught fire from the field in the second quarter, outscoring the Braves 19-9. The teams stayed within three points the first six minutes of the second until East mustered a 8-0 scoring streak to end the half. In the rally, Whitley Rankin drained a 3-pointer and Katie Dougherty hit a trey and got a runner in the lane to fall to give the Olympians a 30-21 edge at the break.

At halftime, East coach Danny Brown emphasized the importance of executing the game plan to the team.

“We knew (Brownstown) played about seven players, and we needed to contain and put pressure on them,” Brown said. “I thought in the first half, we did a decent job, but weren’t executing our offense. We did a much better job of executing offensively and defensively in the second half.”

East’s defensive press and size gave the Braves trouble out of intermission.

The Olympians went on a 9-0 run to open the second half, scoring three baskets on offensive putbacks. Brownstown also had five turnovers in the span.

An three-point from Schorer stopped the Braves’ bleeding with 1:12 on the clock, cutting the deficit to 41-24. East didn’t allow another field goal in the quarter, with the Braves just managing two more points on free throws, and the Olympians they led 45-26 after three quarters.

East outscored the Braves 7-2 to start the fourth quarter before a Tayler Garland 3-pointer brought the score to 52-31 at the midway point. Leading by the double-digit margin, the Olympians were able to empty their bench and hold on for the win.

Kristen Lyons led East with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Rankin added 10 points, and Claire Cunningham and Addy Galarno each scored eight.

“I thought Kristen had just a great game tonight,” Brown said. “She had a double-double in the second half (11 points, 10 rebounds). I thought Whitley did a great job of handling the ball in the second half, and so did Claire.”

Farmer and Schroer topped the Braves with nine points each. The Olympians won the rebounding margin 32-17 and turnover difference 27-19.

East is off to its best start since the 2011-12 season, when it started 8-0.

“Overall, I’m really happy with the win. Brownstown is always a scrappy team,” Brown said. “It was a great effort, and we’re off to the best start we’ve had in awhile. We just want to continue to get better and better.”