Playing its second basketball game in as many nights didn’t slow down the Columbus East girls Friday.

The Olympians bounced back from a subpar performance in a three-point win at Seymour by rolling to a 78-41 rout of Connersville.

“We just came in and were going to treat it like we didn’t play (Thursday),” senior Britney Ballard said. “We had fresh legs, so we pushed the ball like we usually do.”

Ballard was the catalyst. She hit seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points.

Ballard’s first 3-pointer broke a 2-2 tie and sparked a 12-0 run that put the Olympians (13-3) in command.

“I felt really good,” Ballard said. “Recently, I’ve been missing my shots a little bit, so to see that first one go in, it boosted my confidence a lot. I just felt more confident in my shot and kept going with it.”

The Spartans (7-10) came back to within 23-17 midway through the third quarter. But East finished the first half on a 10-2 run, then scored the first 19 points of the second half to open a 53-20 lead late in the third quarter.

The Olympians enjoyed their biggest lead at 78-39 in the closing seconds.

“(Thursday) night was kind of a rougher game in some spots, so today, we were all focused on just coming back and playing the best team ball we could,” senior Kristen Lyons said. “We passed the ball and shared the ball a lot more, and that’s why we got so many points. We got open people good shots, and they hit them.”

Lyons finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Addy Galarno added 11 points. Ballard grabbed nine rebounds to lead East to a 44-22 mauling on the boards.

The Olympians hit 13 3-pointers, two short of the school record, and attempted 34 3s, one short of the school mark. Their 78 points were 47 more than last season, when they had their season-low in a 31-22 victory at Connersville.

“We’ve talked a lot since we played them last year,” East coach Danny Brown said. “That was not one of our better games a year ago. We don’t see a zone very often, and that’s probably the last time we’ll see it, but I think the adjustments we made to move the ball to make that extra pass, that paid off.”

The Olympians now turn their attention toward Tuesday’s visit to Bedford North Lawrence in a game that could have Hoosier Hills Conference title implications.

“We needed this,” Brown said. “We have a big week coming up. We’re in a position to go to Bedford with still a shot at the conference. That’s a big game. That’s a tough place to play.”

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