Olympians eager for rematch with host Trojans

Columbus East’s Mason Reeves calls a play during a sectional basketball game against Columbus North Tuesday at East Central High School in St. Leon.

Mike Wolanin | The Republic

When Columbus East played at East Central five weeks ago, the Olympians built a 13-point lead early in the second half, only to see the Trojans rally for a 43-41 win.

Friday night, the teams will meet again at East Central, this time with a berth in the sectional final on the line. The semifinal game is set for 6 p.m.

“At that time, I think that’s the first time we had ever played with a lead,” East coach Perry Nash said. “So we made some really poor decisions both offensively and defensively. We weren’t very locked in, and it kind of bit us. But we learned from that, and I thought we did a really good job (Tuesday) night of weathering the storm when (Columbus) North tried to come back against us.”

The Olympians (7-16) topped the Bull Dogs 41-33 in Tuesday’s opening round.

In East’s regular-season matchup at East Central, the Olympians played without junior point guard Mason Reeves, who was injured at the time.

“Mason just calms us,” Nash said. “Not only does he provide ballhandling and shooting, he provides leadership for us, and I think having him on he floor, him and Jack (Fischvogt), helps stabilize us in that leadership area.”

Fischvogt, a senior, and junior Alex Duncan were injured during the first half of that East Central game. The other two starters — sophomores Keaton Lawson and Carter Patterson — battled foul trouble.

Patterson averages 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds, while Lawson adds 11.1 points and team-highs of 5.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks. Fischvogt scores 9.5 a game, and Reeves chips in 6.2. Junior Ethan Bumbalough led East with 10 points in the regular-season meeting at East Central.

Junior Carson Pieczonka leads the Trojans (11-13) with 15.3 points a game. Senior Dylan Maxwell adds 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds.

“If you look at John Harrell, we’re two-point underdogs, and that’s OK,” Nash said. “That’s the way we want it. We told our guys it’s all about our focus. I thought our focus going into the North game was amazing, and we have to have that same focus going into East Central.”

Franklin (16-4) and Whiteland (15-10) will play in Friday’s second semifinal. The Olympians beat Whiteland 57-53 and lost to Franklin 53-46 early in the season.

The sectional championship will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.