BROWNSTOWN — Columbus East’s three-game winning streak came to a halt Thursday night in Jackson County.
The Olympians boys basketball team wasn’t able to hang on to an 11-point first-quarter lead in a 43-40 loss at Brownstown Central.
East (8-7) went on an 8-2 run, behind three points each by Drew Johnson and Matt Frost, in the opening four minutes of the game. Following a free throw by the Braves’ Braden Neal and score from Michael Boshears, the Olympians scored six unanswered points — including back-to-back baskets from Drew Hasson — to lead 16-5 at the end of eight minutes.
“They were missing some shots, and we have been playing pretty good defense,” East coach Brent Chitty said.
In the second quarter, the teams reversed roles. Brownstown (12-7) went on a mini 5-2 run to cut the deficit to 18-10 with 3:53 left in the half.
After a score by the Olympians’ Carson Whitehead, the Braves closed the second quarter with an 8-0 scoring streak. At the break, East led 20-18.
Brownstown was 8 for 20 from the field shooting in the first half, and the Olympians made 9 of 20.
The teams exchanged the lead twice, and tied once, before Caleb Bollinger got a layup to fall, and Seth Borden converted an and-one to put the Braves up 29-24 with 2:04 left in the third quarter. East answered with a three-point play from Johnson and free throws by Frost to tie the game at 29 going into the final eight minutes.
Free throws by Frost and a basket by Carson Whitehead gave the Olympians the lead back two minutes into the fourth quarter, but Brownstown didn’t back down. East held on to a one-point lead until Cameron Luedeman fought through contact for a score to put the Braves up 36-35 with 1:11 remaining.
Frost scored on the ensuing possession, but Brownstown made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 29 seconds to help seal the win.
“At the start of the second half, we just missed too many easy shots and free throws,” Chitty said. “We had some costly turnovers. We need to take better care of the ball and make those easy shots.”
Luedeman led the Braves with 13 points, while Frost topped the Olympians with 14. Brownstown outrebounded East 36-22.
“I thought we handled pressure pretty well,” Chitty said. “But, on the road, against a good team like (Brownstown), you need to hit your free throws and those easy shots.”