After watching his team fall to Class 4A No. 2 Bedford North Lawrence Tuesday night, Columbus East coach Danny Brown likened the Stars to his Olympians squads that reached the state’s Final Four in 2007 and 2008.
Led by 6-foot-2 sophomore post players Dominique McBryde and Jenna Allen, BNL used a big height advantage to claim a 62-42 Hoosier Hills Conference victory. The Stars, who have now won 23 consecutive regular-season games, are among “Best of the Rest” in this week’s USA Today Super 25.
“They’re just so long and athletic, it makes it tough for us to shoot over them and defend them, too,” Brown said. “They remind me a lot of the back-to-back Final Four teams that we had here. They just have everything. They have shooters, they have defenders, they have ball-handlers, they have quickness, they have speed. They’re just a smart team.”
McBryde tallied 20 points and eight rebounds, and Allen added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Stars (14-0, 4-0). Sammy Dillman and Brittani Rizzi each hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points.
“They have so many weapons,” Brown said. “Rizzi last year hurt us with her 3-pointers, so we were concerned with her. When they get it spread out like that, then they’re posting up, and they get two big ones in there as talented as they are, it’s tough to stop them totally.”
Still, the Olympians (7-6, 1-2) were within 23-17 with three minutes left in the first half. But McBryde scored the final six points of the second quarter and the first two of the third period to spark a 26-8 BNL run that put the game away.
“Danny does such a good job with that zone, we had little bit of a tough time figuring it out, and we were able to isolate the middle person of that zone a couple of times and ran some different things to do that,” BNL coach Kurt Godlevske said. “Then, it kind of opened up our outside game, and then we got stops. That was a big key in the third quarter. We were able to get out and run and get some easy baskets.”
Freshman Audrey Wetzel led East with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Nine of her rebounds were offensive.
“She has no fear,” Brown said. “She takes it to them, and I thought right from the get-go, she was taking it to them. She’s just very active around there, and being a freshman, she’s only going to get stronger, and her outside shot will improve a lot. She’s been really active on the offensive boards. We’re glad we have her for the next three years.”
Allyson Bunch and Mikala Lomax each scored 10 points for the Olympians, who outrebounded the Starts 30-26.