Olympians ready to hit the hardwood

Columbus East boys basketball coach Brent Chitty is accustomed to getting a late start.

That’s what happens when a school has a successful football program. The Olympians have played in the state finals three of the past five years and in at least the semistate six of the past seven years.

Friday night, East won the Class 5A state title.

“One of the things we thrive on here is that we have multi-sport athletes,” Chitty said. “The football team did a great job, and we’d like to feed off that.”

The Olympians were scheduled to open the basketball season Saturday at Noblesville, but that game was pushed back seven days because of the football team’s tournament run. So now, East will open Saturday at Noblesville.

Thirteen football players from all four classes came to basketball practice on Monday. At least four of them — seniors Luke Poindexter and Tyler Thomas, junior Matt Romig and sophomore Seth Chandler — could see varsity action.

Chitty is anxious to see how those players gel with the ones who have been practicing the past three weeks.

“I think these young men have improved through the summer,” Chitty said. “They continue to grow every day. I like the work ethic.”

Finals on cable stations

Those who want to see Columbus East’s 42-28 win against Kokomo in the Class 5A state finals will have a couple more opportunities if they are able to get special cable stations.

The game will be replayed at noon Friday on Fox College Sports Pacific. It also will be replayed at 10 a.m. Dec. 7 on Fox College Sports Central.

All of last weekend’s Football State Finals games also are archived at ihsaatv.org. Fans should click on the “On Demand” tab under the video player.

Olympians make All-HHC

Eight members of the Columbus East football team have been selected to this year’s All-Hoosier Hills Conference first team, and Bob Gaddis has been named Coach of the Year.

Quarterback Josh Major, running back Jamon Hogan and offensive linemen Mark Scuitto and Zack Clark made the first team offense. Defensive linemen Ty Henderson and Tyler Thomas, linebacker Nash Murphy and defensive back Ethan Summa are on the first team defense.

Four other Olympians made honorable mention — running back Jaedin Miller, tight end Isaac VanCuren, offensive lineman Cole McCarter and linebacker Charlie Burton.

Former resident honored

A former coach with Columbus ties has been cited for induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Marty Echelbarger, who helped lead Muncie Central to the 1963 state championship as a player, lived in Columbus when he began his coaching career as an assistant at Jennings County and then as a head coach at Southwestern (Shelby). He went on to coach at Brebeuf Jesuit, Princeton, Frankfort, Owen Valley and Heritage Hills. Echelbarger, who won 452 games in his 35 years as a head coach, lives in Santa Claus.

The 2018 Hall of Fame induction will be March 21 at Primo Banquet Center in Indianapolis.

City’s swimmers to meet

The annual swimming dual meet between Columbus North and Columbus East will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at North.

Basketball games between the two schools will be the following week. The girls will be Dec. 14 at North, and the boys will be Dec. 15 at East.

North and East will meet in gymnastics Jan. 8 at East and in wrestling Jan. 10 at North.

Olympians to be honored

The Bartholomew Consolidated School board will honor the state champion Columbus East football team at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at Parkside Elementary.

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