The Columbus East boys basketball team hosted Batesville on Friday and outlasted the Bulldogs 50-46 in the Olympians third game in as many days.
“We always talk about finding a way to win by one,” said East assistant coach Sean Miller, who was filling in for head coach Brent Chitty. “And that’s what we did tonight. Three games in three days, for us, catching up on the season in the number of games as everyone else, but we were happy.”
The first half was a back and forth physical battle, with neither team gaining any momentum. East (5-4) jumped out to an early 9-4 lead to begin the game, which would end up being their largest lead of the entire game. The Olympians started hot from behind the arch in the first quarter, sinking four of their six 3-point goals.
East was able to gain a slight edge in the second quarter, taking a one-point lead by halftime. The Olympians took care of the ball by only committing three turnovers in the first half.
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“We had some tired legs, but in the first half our emphasis was to try and get the ball inside and get to the baseline and move off that,” Miller said. “Our big thing is be the guy who makes the good pass to the guy who gets the assist and we had that in the first half.”
East was leading 37-36 heading into the fourth quarter with both teams scoring 10 points in the third. Neither team could find the bottom of the nets early in the quarter, and the Olympians held on to a one-point lead with four minutes remaining.
East led 46-44 with 20 seconds left but committed a turnover to give possession back to the Bulldogs (4-5). Batesville’s Issac Barker was able to drive and scoop in a layup to tie the game.
East’s Drew Johnson received the inbound and drove the length of the court to bank in a circus, giving the Olympians the lead. Carson Whitehead intercepted a pass on the ensuing inbound and was fouled. He iced the game by sinking two free throws and finished with seven points.
Matthew Frost scored a team-high 14 points, and Thomas Myers had eight.
“Kids stepped up tonight and played different roles. We have such an unselfish team,” said Miller. “The guy who makes the pass, to the guy who makes the assist and our guys have really bought into that. As the season goes along we are getting better and better at that. Any style of game we play, we are still finding a way to use what we want to do no matter how the games played.”