Columbus East boys basketball coach Brent Chitty told Jennings County coach Josh Land before Friday’s game that from what he had seen on film, the Panthers were an excellent shooting basketball team.
Jennings lived up to its billing by connecting on 12 of 23 3-point attempts. The Olympians, meanwhile, hit only one 3-pointer, but were dominant inside in picking up a 77-61 Hoosier Hills Conference win.
“Those kids knocked down shots,” Chitty said. “Those kids can shoot. But I thought our kids did a good job of coming back offensively and having a good shot selection and attacking the basket.”
The Olympians (9-8, 2-3) jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. They went 11 of 15 from the field in the first quarter in building a 25-14 lead.
East’s Drew Hasson scored nine of his game-high and career-high 22 points in the opening period.
“I thought we played really good as a team,” Hasson said. “We were all really aggressive form the start, and we were all playing really hard and being aggressive and taking it to the rim. I think our team chemistry is going pretty well, and we’re playing pretty good basketball.”
The Olympians built the lead to 35-19 at halftime. They led 58-35 in the final minute of the fourth quarter before the Panthers (5-14, 0-6) got going.
Freshman Landin Hacker hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer and another in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter during a 12-1 run that brought Jennings to within 59-47. But then East pushed the lead back to 75-52 before the Panthers finished the game on a 9-2 run.
“I thought we came out with a lot of energy in the first quarter,” Chitty said. “I thought the second quarter, we got a little sloppy offensively, and then the third quarter, I thought we got after it. The third quarter, they started warming up a little bit, and then the fourth quarter, they really got hot, but we didn’t panic. Our shot selection was still really good at the end.”
Drew Johnson, Matt Frost and Thomas Myers all scored 13 points for the Olympians. Hasson grabbed nine rebounds to lead East to a 35-24 advantage on the boards.
Hacker led Jennings with 21 points, while Cody Wilson and Travis Wilson each added 14. Travis Wilson grabbed eight rebounds.
The Panthers played East even in the second half after falling behind by 16 at halftime.
“It’s never encouraging to get beat by (16) points, but we did play better in the second half,” Land said. “I thought we played harder. Our post defense has to get better. Our communication on defense has to get better. Just a lot of little things led to that loss.”