BY DENNIS DUNN
For The Republic
JEFFERSONVILLE — The Columbus East boys basketball team came into its Hoosier Hills conference game at Jeffersonville on Saturday night hoping to end a two-game losing streak, but the Class 4A No. 9 Red Devils had other plans as they got back on the winning track with a 69-52 win.
The Olympians fell behind by seven points in the first quarter after the Red Devils used a 6-0 run to build the lead. However, Max Nolting and Matt Frost hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Frost hit a jumper in the lane for the 15-14 lead after the first quarter.
“I thought we came out early and played well and matched them well,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “However, we just have to take better care of the ball.”
The Olympians (5-6, 0-2) increased their lead to three early in the second quarter when Wyatt Koopman hit two free throws, and Drew Hasson had a basket for a 19-16 lead. Jeffersonville (12-2, 2-2) once again scored six in a row to retake the lead and kept it the rest of the half, going to the locker room with a 32-26 lead.
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East turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, but the Red Devils committed eight turnovers. Both teams were physical underneath, with a total of 18 team fouls being called.
“We just can’t match their athleticism,” Chitty said. “They were physical, and we just can’t simulate that in practice.”
Jeffersonville quickly turned a six-point halftime lead into a 13-point lead with 4:54 left in the third quarter. Hasson and Frost scored the only points for the Olympians in over three minutes. The lead stayed in double digits rest of the quarter, and the Red Devils took a 52-40 lead.
The lead reached 21 after an 8-0 run made it 67-46 with a little over three minutes left in the game. East never found any rhythm the rest of the way.
Hasson led the Olympians with 12 points, while Frost added 11. East turned the ball over times 24, and Chitty says his team has to do better.
“We can’t turn the ball over that much and expect to win many games,” he said.