Four East seniors were honored Saturday before their home game against Scottsburg and all four contributed in a big way to help lead the Olympians to a 60-33 rout of the Warriors.
Seniors Bryce Lienhoop, Payton Gray, Jordan Foster and Josh Smith combined to score 19 points, ripped down 14 rebounds and, along with junior Connor Umphress, played stifling first-quarter defense to hold the guests without a field goal en route to a 22-1 lead.
The opening quarter also proved to be extra special for Lienhoop, who scored his 1,000th career point, as well as to become the Olympians all-time career rebounder.
The blowout was the ninth win in the last 10 outings for Class 4A 17th-ranked East (15-3) and gives it plenty of momentum heading into its final two regular-season road games, including a Wednesday battle against Jeffersonville for the chance to claim a share of the Hoosier Hills Conference crown.
Scottsburg (8-13) trailed 8-0 before Christian Evans sank one of two free throws at the 5:26 mark. The Warriors struggled to get off an open shot against the Olympians’ harassing defense and were rattled into turning the ball over seven times.
“I thought our seniors were special tonight,” said East coach Brent Chitty. “They bring that kind of intensity and hustle to every practice and this time they were able to bring it to the game.”
Lienhoop connected on his third field goal of the contest with three minutes remaining in the first period to reach the 1,000-point plateau. By that time, the 6-foot-7 versatile playmaker had also registered two steals, five assists and six rebounds. He finished with nine boards to give him an unofficial 689 career caroms, surpassing Jody Littrell’s 681.
He failed to score throughout the remainder of the contest, but didn’t need to worry, as seven other teammates picked up the offensive slack, including Umphress with a game-high 22 points and Parker Chitty with 10.
East maintained its 21-point advantage through the first half, leading 36-15 at intermission, but found the Warriors fired-up upon their return. The visitors scored the first nine points of the third quarter, slicing the O’s lead to 12 at 36-24.
Parker Chitty’s 3-pointer at the 5:02 mark snapped Scottsburg’s run and ignited a streak for his own squad, which cranked out 16 consecutive points, and went on to outscore the Warriors 19-11 to increase the lead to 55-26.
“I thought our kids played hard and played smart,” Brent Chitty said. “And when (Scottsburg) made that run, the kids played tough and responded well.”
Umphress fueled the outburst, pouring in 13 points, including connecting on a trio of 3-pointers. He scored eight straight to push the O’s ahead, 47-24, and then followed a Smith trey with another layup and 3-pointer.
“We have someone step up big in about every game and tonight it was Connor,” Brent Chitty said. “I’m just pleased with all of our kids’ play.”