Whenever Columbus East needed a basket this season, Addy Galarno usually was up to the challenge.

The 5-foot-9 senior guard had a knack of driving to the basket and either scoring or drawing a foul. She often did both at the same time.

Galarno, who led the Olympians to their first sectional title in seven years, is this year’s The Republic Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

“It just seemed like when we needed a basket or to get to the free-throw line, Addy just wanted the ball,” East coach Danny Brown said. “She was so good at getting to the free-throw line not only this year, but her entire career. She did a great job hitting shots in the sectional, and then in the regional game, she had a big game too.”

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Galarno put up a team-high 17 points in that regional semifinal loss to Bedford North Lawrence. Eight days earlier, she had scored a game-high 17 in the Olympians’ 39-29 victory against Columbus North.

That win against the Bull Dogs ended an 11-game losing streak at the hands of their archrivals and put East in the sectional final, where the Olympians knocked off host East Central.

“We had a really good stretch at the beginning of the season,” Galarno said. “Then, we had a little bit of a dip, but we won sectional for the first time in seven years, and we beat North, so overall, I’m pretty proud of the team and season that we had.”

This season, Galarno became more of an attacking threat. She led the Olympians with 12.5 points a game and added 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals in earning All-Hoosier Hills Conference honors.

Galarno credited her teammates. Senior point guard Britney Ballard was able to get her the ball in open spots, and 6-2 senior center Kristen Lyons drew enough attention in the middle that opened things up on the outside for Galarno.

“I definitely owe that to my teammates,” said Galarno, who sits 11th on East’s all-time scoring list with 951 points. “Britney is a good ballhandler. I think I was able to get more open shots than I had before.”

Galarno, Ballard and Lyons were four-year varsity players for the Olympians. Galarno and Lyons were four-year starters.

That chemistry helped them put together the best season in their four years at East.

“I think our experience of playing together really played a role,” Galarno said. “I’m definitely going to miss them next year. It’s going to be different not playing basketball with them.”

Galarno, who also was a four-year starter and an All-HCC player in soccer, isn’t planning to continue either of those sports in college. She is going to University of Indianapolis and will major in medical lab science.

Galarno is, however, leaning toward playing club soccer at the University of Indianapolis.

“I was really tied between playing basketball or soccer,” Galarno said. “I couldn’t really imagine my life without either of them, so I’m definitely going to play intramurals. But I think I’m going to focus on being a student for once.”

The Republic All-Area Girls Basketball team

Addy Galarno, Columbus East: The senior led the Olympians with 12.5 points and averaged 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals.

Britney Ballard, Columbus East: The senior averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists and led the Olympians with 3.5 assists.

Kristen Lyons, Columbus East: The senior averaged 8.0 points and 1.4 steals and led the Olympians with 7.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.

Claire Cunningham, Columbus East: The junior averaged 5.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Jenna Borger, Columbus North: The senior led the Bull Dogs with 11.2 points and averaged 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

Kenzie Patberg, Columbus North: The senior averaged 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds and led the Bull Dogs with 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals.

Tessa Lomax, Columbus North: The sophomore averaged 7.6 points and 1.4 steals and led the Bull Dogs with 8.1 rebounds.

Annie Anderson, Columbus North: The sophomore averaged 7.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 steals.

Abby Hackman, Trinity Lutheran: The senior led the Cougars with 13.8 points and 9.4 rebounds and averaged 1.3 steals.

Sydney Jaynes, Trinity Lutheran: The freshman averaged 11.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals.

Callie Wilder, Jennings County: The junior led the Panthers with 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

Allison Stogsdill, Brown County: The sophomore led the Eagles with 11.9 points and 3.0 steals and averaged 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Sarah Tedder, Hauser: The senior led the Jets with 7.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals and averaged 1.3 assists.

Destiney Ramey, Edinburgh: The sophomore led the Lancers with 12.3 points, 3.4 assists and 2.5 steals and averaged 3.6 rebounds.

Taylor Best, South Decatur: The senior led the Lancers with 11.3 points and averaged 1.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

Honorable mention

Brown County: Aubrey Hollander, Gracie Matlock

Columbus Christian: Kayla Jones

Columbus East: Whitley Rankin

Columbus North: Nadia Lomax, Liz Tynan

Edinburgh: Sidney Beier, Haven Link

Hauser: Grace Hasler

Jennings County: Addyson Kent

South Decatur: Madison Owens

Trinity Lutheran: Savannah Harweger

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