MARTINSVILLE — Columbus East traveled to Martinsville on Thursday to play its fifth girls basketball game in eight days, and the fatigue showed in the second half.
The Olympians were within one point at halftime before the Artesians pulled away for the 56-44 victory. Martinsville outscored East 30-19 over the final two quarters.
“We were just running on fumes,” East coach Danny Brown said of the second half. “We just basically ran out of gas. They tried to push through it.”
Both teams shot the ball well in the first quarter, and the Artesians (15-8) ended it with an 18-14 lead. Some solid free-throw shooting by the Olympians (14-9) in the second quarter helped cut the lead to 26-25 by halftime. East hit all six of its second-quarter free-throws.
The Olympians also limited Martinsville’s leading scorer, Purdue commit Kayana Traylor, to just two points in each of the final three quarters after scoring eight points in the opening period.
Britney Ballard led East with 13 points, and Whitley Rankin added 12. Addy Galarno scored 10 points to go with her three steals, while Kristen Lyons recorded three blocked shots with nine rebounds and six points.
That wasn’t enough to stop Merideth Deckard, who led the Artesians with 21 points. She scored on five 3-pointers, and her seven-point fourth quarter helped give Martinsville a 42-33 lead to start the fourth.
“I thought we got out on their shooters for the most part,” Brown said. “They’ve got so many. Deckard can knock them down from way out, and Traylor, you can’t simulate anything that she does in practice. She’s so good at penetrating and kicking.”
The Artesians pulled away for its biggest lead at 16 during the fourth quarter, but a couple of 3-pointers from Galarno helped bring the Olympians within 10 points with less than a minute left. It was still too late for any type of comeback.
Brown gave his players the day off today so they can get some rest and start practice fresh on Saturday as they try and prepare for the first round of the sectional against Shelbyville on Tuesday at East Central.