Working Overtime: Olympians finish unbeaten in HHC with win against Panthers

NORTH VERNON — Columbus East trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter of Thursday night’s Hoosier Hills girls basketball contest against Jennings County.

The Olympians never gave up.

East showed a ton of heart and adversity to make a comeback and force overtime. In the overtime, the Olympians got the job done to become back-to-back undefeated Hoosier Hills Conference champions with an 81-75 overtime victory.

“We did show a lot of adversity tonight. We never gave up,” East senior Koryn Greiwe said.

Greiwe never imagined four years ago when she first started as a freshman for the Olympians that she would become back-to-back undefeated champions to finish out her career. Greiwe is currently East’s all-time scoring leader, breaking the record earlier this season.

“It’s a dream come true,” Greiwe said. “To be back-to-back conference champions is something that I’ll never forget. We have an awesome team, and coming into this game, we knew it was all on the line, and I’m so happy we were able to get it done.”

This game had many lead changes in the fourth quarter and overtime, and it was a nail-biter and heart racing finish for the fans that got their money’s worth.

“They never give up. Against Mooresville, we were down 23 and we won the game easily,” East coach Danny Brown said. “Jennings County is a great team, and I’ve got to give them a lot of credit. We knew it was going to be a battle. We told our kids all week that the pressure would get to them and they handled it pretty good. We made a lot of adjustments during the game. We went back to our press at the end when we needed it.”

The Olympians (16-3, 6-0) got off to a 7-2 start in the first quarter. Defensively, they denied Jennings’ top player Juliann Woodard early. It was no problem for the Panthers (15-4, 3-2) as Kali Thompson was heating it up from the perimeter hitting four 3-pointers to keep it within 18-16.

East executed its offense efficiently to end the opening quarter on an 8-2 run to lead 26-18.

In the second quarter, Alivia Elmore sank a 3 to start, and then a bucket from Woodard cut the deficit to 28-24. During the latter stages of the quarter, East’s Saige Stahl picked up her third foul of the game with 3:22 left and had to sit out the rest of the first half on the bench. Less than 30 seconds later, Woodard picked up her third foul of the game and sat the rest of the half, as well. The Panthers didn’t miss Woodard’s presence as Lily Ernstes and Thompson helped the Panthers finish out the half on a 9-2 run and lead 36-34 at the break.

East tied it at 65-65 following a basket inside from Leah Bachmann. On the ensuing Jennings possession, Bachmann came up with a steal and the layup for the 67-65 lead. Elmore sank two free throws to send it to overtime.

In the overtime, Greiwe went 5 for 6 from the line, and Albany Speer made the final two free throws to seal the HHC title.

Stahl finished with a game-high 26 points for the Olympians. Greiwe finished 23 points, Bachmann with 16 and Harley Gant with 12.

For Jennings, Thompson had a team-high 22 points and Ernstes finished with 21. There was only one point coming off the bench from both teams combined.

“Koryn took care of the ball and hit some free throws and Albany hit two big free throws to ice it,” Brown said. “Everybody stepped in and played their role. There was a lot of things going on in this game, but we never give up. These kids wanted this bad.”