NOBLESVILLE — The Columbus East upperclassmen showed their leadership in the season opener Saturday night at Noblesville.

Seniors Max Nolting and Drew Hasson and junior Matthew Frost combined for 35 points to help the Olympians hand Noblesville its first loss of the season with a 51-44 win.

“I thought it was great Hasson and Matt both stepped up,” said Frost, who led East with 13 points, “We just played together as a team. We’re always positive. We never got down. We always complement each other, and that just helps because it always gives us confidence.”

The lead went back and forth for most of the first half, with six lead changes and three ties in the first 16 minutes. The Millers (2-1) played zone for most of the night, which slowed the pace of the game.

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“(Noblesville Coach Brian McCauley) has got to be one of the best zone coaches in the state of Indiana,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “Those guys are disciplined, and they play hard. Our patience helped up make good plays. We got the ball inside some, and Drew Hasson made some really nice plays inside.”

The Olympians held a 19-17 lead at halftime before creating some distance in the third quarter. East outscored the Millers 15-6 in the third period to take a 34-23 lead heading into the fourth.

Noblesville cut the lead to seven before East scored six consecutive points to take its biggest lead of the night at 13 points with less than two minutes left. The Millers stuck around by going on 9-0 run to cut the lead to four with 43 seconds left.

“They’re at home; they’re going to (make a run),” Chitty said. “They were undefeated. They’re at home, they’re going to and you just have to expect it. You have to be tough, strong with the basketball, handle the pressure and they hit free throws.”

The Olympians hit 11 of 14 free throws, including 7 of 10 in the fourth quarter to close out the game.

Hasson added 12 points for East. Frost led the Olympians with seven rebounds to go along with his 10 points.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.