Olympians bounce back, use fast start to oust Bull Dogs

Columbus East students and the Columbus East bench celebrates after an East player hit a three pointer during an IHSAA sectional basketball game at East Central High School in St. Leon, Ind., Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024.

Mike Wolanin | The Republic

ST. LEON — After falling by 29 points in last week’s regular-season finale at Floyd Central, Columbus East coach Perry Nash had a heart-to-heart with his team about its focus.

Tuesday night, the Olympians played with that focus in opening the East Central Sectional with a 41-33 win over Columbus North. East, which beat North twice in the same year for the first time since 1995-96, advances to a Friday semifinal matchup with host East Central.

“We didn’t show up that (Floyd Central) game,” Nash said. “We didn’t have that focus. From that moment on, we started talking about pure and utter focus. This is how we prepare. This is how we do our warmups. This is how we take the floor. It’s just a credit to our guys. They were awesome.”

East’s focus was evident from the start. The Olympians (7-16) jumped out to an 11-0 lead midway through the first quarter, bookended by 3-pointers from Jack Fischvogt.

“That’s what we planned on coming in — everybody locked in on the busride and just being locked in from the start ready to go,” Fischvogt said. “It was super important because it set the tone from the beginning to the end.”

The Bull Dogs (6-16) scored the final five points of the first quarter and got back to within 13-10 midway through the second, but 3-pointers from Mason Reeves and Fischvogt helped push the lead back to 20-11 at halftime.

North could get no closer than six in the second half.

“In our practice the last two weeks, that’s that exact thing we’ve been talking about,” Nash said. “From the moment we drew them, we started focusing on our defensive game plan. I’m so proud of our guys. It takes an entire team. We just locked down.”

Fischvogt finished with 11 points, and Carter Patterson had 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead East to a 20-19 advantage on the boards. Reeves added nine points.

“When you’re playing your crosstown foe, you give everything you have,” Patterson said. “We kept a strong mindset.”

Ben Ferguson led the Bull Dogs with 10 points. North was plagued by 12 of 26 shooting from the free-throw line.

“We had a tough start and just couldn’t quite match their intensity,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We battled back there at the end of the first, beginning of the second and then made a couple defensive mistakes and gave up some open 3s. We continued to fight throughout the game. I love the heart we showed. But we just didn’t have enough offensive firepower tonight. We just weren’t comfortable shooting the basketball tonight and couldn’t get our offense going.”

Columbus East 41, Columbus North 33

Columbus East;11;9;9;12;—;41

Columbus North;5;6;9;13;—;33

Columbus East (7-16): Mason Reeves 3 1-2 9, Jack Fischvogt 4 0-0 11, Danny Coriden 0 0-0 0, Ethan Bumbalough 0 4-4 4, Keaton Lawson 2 1-2 5, Alex Duncan 0 2-4 2, Carter Patterson 4 2-4 10. Totals: 13 10-16 41.

Columbus North (6-16): Caleb Ferguson 1 4-8 6, Nate Enneking 1 1-4 3, Max Coomes 1 2-4 4, Nolan Pickup 1 0-0 2, Ben Ferguson 3 4-4 10, Drew Schiefer 1 0-1 2, Garrett Long 2 1-5 6. Totals: 10 12-26 33.

3-point goals: Columbus East 5 (Fischvogt 3, Reeves 2); Columbus North 1 (Long).