SHELBYVILLE — After one half of play on Friday night, the Columbus East Olympians were looking for a spark, as they trailed 28-27 in a tight battle at Shelbyville.
Something head coach Brent Chitty said in his halftime speech definitely clicked.
East (7-1) exploded out of the locker room, beginning the second half on a 20-1 run to put the Olympians up 47-27 midway through the third quarter as they rolled to a 75-49 victory against Shelbyville.
Chitty said that he told his boys at halftime that they simply must communicate, be smart and play their game.
“I knew this would be a tough matchup,” Chitty said. “They really took it to us in the first half, and I always say that our game starts with attitude and effort. We needed to up the intensity mentally and on the floor.”
The Golden Bears (2-9) came out strong to start the game, drawing early fouls and hitting shots from outside.
Although East was responding, it took time for the team to adjust to Shelbyville’s zone defense, and Chitty said it simply took patience.
“I knew they would play zone on us, and I told the boys we just needed to stay the course,” Chitty said.
“We needed to continue our tough man defense and wait for the right shots, and that’s what we did.”
Once the Olympians adjusted, they ran with it. Nate Rich combined with Dakota Thompson and Nate Nolting to hit four 3-point goals in the third quarter, while East upped its intensity on defense and scored on several turnovers.
After East’s 20-1 run in the third, Shelbyville continued to play tough defense and challenge outside shooting. However, it could not pull itself back into reach of East.
The Olympians utilized their deep bench early in the game as 10 players contributed to the scoring effort.
Rich led East in scoring with 21 points, followed by Bryce Leinhoop with 13 and Zach Martindale with 11. Thompson and Connor Umphress each added six, while Kyle Taylor, Connor Jensen and Peyton Gray each had two.
Shelbyville’s Ethan Runnebohm led the scoring for the Golden Bears with 13, followed by Adam Eads with 10.