Olympians start fast, roll to victory against Pioneers

Columbus East got off to its fastest start all season in Tuesday night’s boys basketball game against Mooresville.

That huge cushion the Olympians built was all they needed to earn their second win of the season with a 51-31 victory over the Pioneers.

As double-digit underdogs going into the game according to the Jeff Sagarin ratings, East proved the rating completely wrong. It was a huge effort offensively and defensively for the Olympians to snap a seven-game losing streak and earn the win.

“I love my kids, and I’m always proud of them, and this is a journey. I think tonight what you saw that the ball was going into the hole, but if you think about it, it’s the same shots we’ve taken all year and they’re going in. Our kids played with confidence,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “Tonight there was no doubt in my mind we played all four quarters. With great energy, great attitude, great effort, that was a physical game. The kids handled the pressure really well.”

The Olympians (2-10) got off to a hot start with Julius Dailey hitting a couple 3-point baskets early to help them start out with an 8-0 lead. Once Mooresville (7-4) got its first basket of the game with just under 4:30 left in the opening quarter, East kept the intensity and energy going by finishing the quarter on an 11-0 run to lead 19-3.

The Olympians grew the lead to 22-3 early in the second quarter, but a Pioneer basket ended the run to make it 22-5. Scoring began to slow down for East as the second quarter was winding down, but the Olympians made up for it on the defensive end with stops and not allowing second-chance opportunities. Mooresville got it within 24-10 until a Will Rieckers 3 at the buzzer ended the first half with East leading 27-10.

The Olympians got off to another fast start to begin the second half when they went on an 8-0 run to expand to their largest lead of the game at 35-10. The Pioneers started turning up the pressure midway in the third quarter that caused a few East turnovers. It helped Mooresville cut into the deficit a bit, but the Pioneers still trailed 38-21 heading into the fourth.

The Olympian defense kept Mooresville off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter until about three minutes were left in the game while expanding their lead to 43-21 to eventually seal the win.

Dailey led East with a game-high 18 points. Ben Sylva finished with 13, and Rieckers and Zane Moravec added nine apiece.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to coach all of them,” Chitty said. “They’re coachable. I’m happy for them. This was a great effort on their part. They deserve to win the game, and the way they played tonight, hopefully, we can keep it going.”