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Olympians fire up too late against New Albany

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Columbus East girls basketball coach Danny Brown could have complained about an awful call Saturday that might have robbed his team of a chance to beat visiting New Albany.

He didn’t even mention it.

Brown had other things on his mind, such as finding the right combination of players to keep the Olympians’ floor intensity at a high level.

New Albany’s 52-50 victory on Saturday was mainly due to its ability to get most of the loose balls and contested rebounds that were up for grabs.

“You are supposed to get 50-50,” Brown said. “We didn’t get 50 percent.

“I think we just let a game slip away that we should have won. When we have a sense of urgency, we play harder.”

Indeed, the Olympians (7-8 overall, 1-3 Hoosier Hills Conference) played better against the Bulldogs (6-9, 2-3) when they were behind.

That especially was the case when East was down 46-35 early in the fourth quarter. The Olympians outscored the Bulldogs 15-6 the rest of the way.

Back to the call that decimated East’s comeback. The Olympians were on an 11-4 run and putting together a ton of defensive pressure when Bulldogs guard Brittany Knight decided she was going to get away from the pressure by charging the basket off the dribble.

Under the basket was East guard Courtney Hunter, who was planted with both hands extending upward. Out of control, Knight took two steps and then plowed through Hunter, who was called for blocking.

East had cut New Albany’s lead to 50-46, and the Olympians would have had a shot at cutting it to two if Knight had been called for the charge. Instead, Knight hit both free throws for a 52-46 lead with 2:17 remaining.

The Olympians manged the game’s final four points, but they simply ran out of time.

“We’re just up and down this season,” Brown said. “Time is slipping away. We have to get this figured out.”

East junior Megan Galle was a big part of her team’s defensive intensity and she added 12 points.

“We need to come together as a team,” Galle said. “We play extremely well when we work as a team. But it seems we don’t play aggressively until we get down.

“We’re going to work hard in practice, and we’re going to start focusing.”

East fell behind 24-21 in the first half and simply played poorly. When the Olympians did work free for inside shots, they would miss.

Then at the start of the third quarter, New Albany dropped three consecutive 3-point shots, two by Jasmine Sims and one by Knight.

Although East has prided itself on solid perimeter defense, it gave up six 3-pointers.

Allyson Bunch led East with 14 points while Audrey Wetzel added 12 points.

Knight led all scorers with 22 points.

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