Columbus East girls coach Danny Brown is excited to have his basketball team back.
“Nineteenth game of the season, and this is our first game with every player available,” Brown said.
The Olympians used the depths of their replenished roster to defeat Floyd Central 79-65 on Tuesday night.
East (10-9, 4-3) had five players score in double digits and showed a level of consistency against Floyd Central (10-10, 1-6) that it has been missing all season.
“We haven’t gotten off to strong starts in our games for a while,” Brown said. “Tonight, we executed our offense better for the majority of the game.”
East was led by freshman Audrey Wetzel, who scored 16 points.
“Audrey’s been a steady player for us all season,” Brown said. “She hit some big baskets late in the game to help us out.”
“We got frustrated early in the game,” Wetzel said. “Then we settled down and worked well together. Having Megan (Galle) back tonight gave us more depth and meant a lot for us.”
In her first game on the season following a wrist injury, Galle came off the bench and scored 10 points, providing quality minutes when team leader Allyson Bunch, who scored 12 points for East, experienced foul trouble.
“I felt rusty when I first came in,” Galle said. “My teammates helped me feel comfortable. It feels good to be able to help the team out tonight. I feel it was a good first game back.”
“Finally having Katie (Ritenour), Ally and Megan all back now opens things up for us,” Brown said. “Megan tonight gave us an outside threat that’s been missing for us.”
Senior Mikala Lomax added 14 points, and Courtney Hunter scored 13 for the Olympians. Both players showed leadership on the court in leading the balanced offensive attack.
“Courtney and Mikala played their hearts out”, Brown said. “They gave us everything they had tonight and played great defense and a fantastic game.”
East struggled in the first quarter when it fell behind 22-17. The Olympians were outrebounded by the Highlanders and had trouble defending the paint, where Floyd Central sophomore Madison Kaiser scored 20 points. The Olympians battled back and cut the lead to one point at halftime.
East took control in the second half. The O’s opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to give them a 44-37 lead. Floyd Central then responded with a seven point run of its own to tie the game. East closed the quarter by outscoring the Highlanders 12-1 to build a 60-49 lead and put the game safely out of reach.
“I feel good about how we played and responded tonight,” Brown said. “Hopefully, we take this into sectional.”