Olympians press way to victory against Cougars

The full-court press of Columbus East proved to be too much for Bloomington North on Tuesday night.

The Olympians forced 15 steals on their way to a 60-35 victory.

East’s defense held the Cougars to just four points in the second half. Britney Ballard had the hot hand early with 11 first-half points and led all players with 14 for the game.

“I think we started off slow,” Ballard said. “We could have done a lot better in that aspect. At the end of the first half and going into the second half, we got more of a rhythm. We worked on the the press a lot, and I think we feel really confident about putting it in games.”

Claire Cunningham and Kristen Lyons crashed the boards well for the Olympians (4-2) grabbing eight rebounds apiece. They played solid defense as well, forcing two steals each, and Lyons recorded a block.

Hannah Allen scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds and four steals for the Cougars (4-4). Bloomington North played tough defense, collecting nine steals of its own, but the Cougars had trouble scoring points.

East did not play much better offensively in the third quarter, outscoring Bloomington by just two points. Coach Danny Brown said hitting shots is still an issue for the Olympians.

“We have to have that killer instinct,” Brown said. “We start the second half and miss our first 10 shots. We just have to come out for 32 minutes and play. I’ve have to give Bloomington North a lot of credit. They have vastly improved over last year. Jason Speer is doing a heck of a job with them.”

Speer, the former Columbus North boys coach, led the Cougars to a 4-0 start this season after they went 1-22 last year. But the loss to East was their fourth in a row.

Brown said his team missed rushed too many easy shots in that third quarter. The Olympians have six days of practice before their next game to make some offensive adjustments.