With the Columbus East girls basketball team trailing 60-56 with 1:33 remaining against Floyd Central on Friday night, it was obvious the Olympians were going to give the ball to senior forward Allyson Bunch.
She was happy to help.
Bunch connected on six consecutive points from the free-throw line to put the Olympians up 62-60 with 12 seconds left. After a foul by the Highlanders, senior Molly Macy went to the free-throw line to try to make it a two-possession game.
Macy missed the first but connected on the second to increase the lead to 63-60.
“I was feeling pressure because my free-throw percentage is very low,” Macy said. “Missing the first one was nerve-wracking, but I knew I had the team’s encouragement to get the last one down.”
With five seconds remaining, Floyd Central guard Brooke Hinton drove inside to try for a three-point play. She made the basket, but was unsuccessful in her attempt to draw a foul, and East won a 63-62 Hoosier Hills Conference decision on senior night.
“We played good defense in the end without fouling,” East coach Danny Brown said. “We were able to control the ball in the last few minutes and get some key free throws.”
Bunch finished with 17 points, 14 coming from the fourth quarter, hitting 10 of 11 from the free throws.
After spending much of the first half on the bench after getting four fouls, Bunch said she was happy with her contribution in the second half.
“The calls weren’t going my way early,” Bunch said. “To come out in the second half and help the team and hit the free throws in the fourth quarter was a great feeling.”
“She got those early fouls and you could tell she was frustrated,” Brown said. “To be ahead after the first half with her on the bench really says something about our underclassmen.”
The Olympians (9-9, 3-3) went on a 15-6 run to start the game, outscoring the Highlanders (9-10, 1-6) 22-18 in the first quarter, and led at the half 37-30 behind guard Audrey Wetzel’s nine points.
Floyd Central came out of the locker room attacking early with a 12-3 run, taking a 44-43 lead after the third quarter behind Madison Kaiser, who finished with 20 points.
East got its rhythm going offensively in the fourth quarter with an early 3-pointer from forward Megan Galle to bring the team back into the contest. Bunch went on a scoring spree of her own, scoring 14 of the last 15 points for the Olympians.
East outscored the Highlanders in 20-18 in the fourth.
“The team played awesome defensively,” Bunch said. “We had some real good pressure from the press and were able to contain them down the stretch.”
Brown said the excitement from the game was good for seniors Macy, Bunch, Courtney Hunter and Katie Ritenour.
“This is one the seniors will remember,” Brown said. “They have overcome adversity through the years, but to be able to get a huge win like this in their final home game was really special to them.”