HANOVER — Columbus East girls basketball coach Danny Brown warned his players before Saturday’s Rumble on the River game against Fishers that Tigers guard Brooke Sugg was her team’s only real 3-point shooting threat.
They should have listened.
The Olympians sagged off Sugg, who made three important 3-point shots in Fishers’ 46-37 victory in tournament semifinal play.
Sugg finished with 13 points, but it was her long-distance shooting which made the difference. Fittingly, those three 3-pointers represented the margin of victory.
“They had one 3-point threat, and for some reason, we didn’t get on her,” said a disappointed Brown. “And we never did recover from that third one.”
Sugg’s first 3 gave Fishers a 13-12 lead to start the second quarter. Her second broke a tie game and gave the Tigers a 27-24 lead in the third quarter. The third gave Fishers a 30-25 lead and seemed to put a little distance between two teams that had been trading baskets for most of the game.
Although the Olympians had a tough time with Sugg, they also struggled in other areas on a day where many tournaments were canceling contests due to the snowy weather. However, Brown wouldn’t blame the weather for his team’s sub-par performance.
“We still don’t have the firepower,” said Brown, who said 5-foot-10 junior Alyson Bunch will return to the lineup for the first time against Seymour on Thursday. Bunch has been rehabilitating from a torn ACL.
“We’re not a 32-minute team yet,” Brown said. “The kids are working hard, though, and giving it everything they’ve got.”
Brown pointed at his team’s turnovers as a major reason it didn’t take Fishers to the wire. “On Friday, we had eight turnovers the whole game, against Fishers, we had seven in the first half.”
Indeed, East not only turned the ball over, but didn’t do much to penetrate Fishers’ zone defense. “We kept dribbling into traps, and we didn’t attack the basket,” Brown said. “But you have to credit Fishers. That was a very quick team.”
Senior Mikala Lomax continued to play inspired basketball for East with a game-high 14 points. Molly Macy had seven points for the Olympians and Sarah Loesch added six.
East’s third-place contest, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, was canceled when some of the teams didn’t return Saturday.