BEDFORD — Columbus East coach Brent Chitty understands that he doesn’t have the state’s most athletically gifted team.
So for the Olympians to beat some of the better teams on their schedule, they have to make more shots and fewer mistakes than they did on Friday night. East was tied with Bedford North Lawrence at halftime, but the Stars pulled away for a 54-40 Hoosier Hills Conference win.
“If you’re (top-ranked) New Albany, you have a little bit more margin for error,” Chitty said. “We’re not New Albany. We don’t have Romeo Langford. So we have to be good every second of every game. That’s one thing we have to work on. We have to be fundamentally good, and we have to be tough.”
Bedford (4-1, 1-0) jumped out to a 12-8 lead after one quarter and led 14-10 early in the second. The Olympians (1-1, 0-1) then went on a 13-4 run, sparked by 3-pointers from Carson Whitehead and Max Nolting, to take a 23-18 advantage.
East still led 25-21 with 1:10 left in the first half. But the Stars scored the last four points of the first half and the first 10 of the second to open a 35-25 lead.
That 14-point run was the difference in the 14-point game.
The Olympians did answer with an 8-1 run to get back to within 36-33 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter. But Bedford answered with an 11-2 run and went on to hand East its first loss of the season.
Sophomore Brayton Bailey, the son of the state’s all-time leading scorer, Damon Bailey, led the Stars with 18 points. Bedford finished with a 23-20 rebounding advantage, with several of its rebounds coming on the offensive end.
“I thought we were pretty physical the first half,” Chitty said. “The second half, they were more physical than us. We had too many turnovers, didn’t block out well and we missed some easy shots.”
Matt Frost led the Olympians with 11 points and six rebounds. Drew Hasson added nine points.
“It’s Bedford, and they’re always going to be physical,” Hasson said. “It’s a hard-nosed basketball team, and we just have to get more physical. We have to get more physical (tonight) and just put the ball in the hole.”