NORTH VERNON — The Columbus East boys basketball team controlled every facet of the game against host Jennings County on Friday, coming away with a 63-43 win in a Hoosier Hills Conference game.
The Olympians’ intensity was too much for the Panthers, who couldn’t match the visitors on either end of the floor.
After Jennings County came out of the gate with a 6-2 lead, East stormed back with eight consecutive points for a 10-6 lead, and then the Olympians never looked back.
East’s defense was in fine form for the entirety of the game. East held the Panthers without baskets for several multiple-minute stretches.
“Our kids played extremely well defensively,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “We did a really good job blocking out and rebounding in the first half. Offensively, we attacked well.
“We want to be more aggressive offensively and then defensively, we want to keep doing what we’re doing.”
East’s offensive attack was extremely balanced. Guard Zach Sanders paced the Olympians with 15 points, while guard Parker Chitty and forward Kevin Williams each reached double figures with 10 and 11 points, respectively. Forward Connor Umphress had nine for the Olympians.
With starting point guard Nate Nolting out with the flu, the Olympians bench also saw a significant number of minutes, and took advantage of its time. Forward Rhett Myers scored four points as part of a 9-2 run in the second quarter with both Parker Chitty and Umphress on the bench. Once the starters were back in the game, the Olympians had a comfortable lead at 24-14.
“If we’re going to play as hard as we did tonight, we’re going to have people come off the bench and give us great minutes,” Brent Chitty said. “I thought our bench was incredible tonight.”
Jennings County was rarely able to find any rhythm on the offensive end. A lack of East turnovers led to very few chances for the Panthers to break, and their half-court offense was mostly stagnant.
Senior Richard McNamee was able to find a fair number of open looks for the Panthers, and scored 14 points, but his teammates were unable to replicate his success. Dan Leach had 13 points.
“We didn’t execute on offense,” Jennings County assistant Bill Lane said. “We didn’t score in our half-court, we didn’t create offense from defense. We weren’t able to score in any phase of the game.
“East came out with a chip on its shoulder.”
East’s balance and intensity were the keys to the win, and Chitty hopes his team continues that brand of basketball. The Olympians moved to 9-8 overall with the win and 3-2 in conference play.
Jennings County fell to 8-9 and 3-2 in HHC play.