By Dylan Wallace
For The Republic
BROWNSTOWN — Brownstown Central welcomed the No. 9-ranked team in Class 4A into The Pit on Tuesday night, and Columbus East proved why its deserving of that ranking in a 71-50 victory.
The Olympians came right out of the gate with each starter mading their first shot attempt, including a pair of 3-pointers from guards Koryn Greiwe and Albany Speer. East was off to a 10-2 start before Braves coach Brandon Allman called timeout.
Brownstown struggled to break East’s press and zone defense, but thanks to some elite shot-making by Maddy Hackman, Brownstown climbed back in it. The Olympians led 22-14 after one. East’s Saige Stahl also asserted her dominance early as well inside the paint, finishing with 1o first-quarter points.
The Braves got off to a hot start in the second quarter as Hackman increased her total to 16 points, and Jenna Klosterman came off the bench to hit a 3 to bring the Braves within 1, 24-23.
But the Olympians (6-1) weathered the storm nicely. They went to a box-and-1 on Hackman, and some more buckets by Stahl and a 3-pointer from Speer pushed their lead up to as much as 12.
What was worse for Brownstown, aside from the East run, was that Hackman came up hobbled and had to leave the floor for the final minutes of the first half. Klosterman continued to be a sharp shooter from deep for the Braves. She hit three 3-pointers and had 11 points for Brownstown as the Braves trailed 37-29 at halftime.
Hackman returned for the second half, but went scoreless in the second 16 minutes as East pulled away.
Greiwe had a couple early fast-break steals, and East went up 43-29 early in the third. The Olympians only extended their lead from there.
It was a balanced scoring attack for the Olympians with Stahl scoring 20, Greiwe 19 and Speer 18.
“Greiwe is a really nice player, four-year starter, she’s gotta go down as one of the all-time greats at Columbus East,” Allman said. “Then that Speer girl, she hit more shots tonight than I’ve seen her hit in her previous four or five games. When they’ve got 6-3, 6-1 and 6-foot in there, and you are trying to concentrate on them, those girls (Grewie and Speer) gotta be able to shoot the basketball because they’re gonna get a lot of open looks.”