The Columbus East boys basketball team put up its highest scoring total of the season — while shooting 64 percent on the game — in a 83-74 win against Class 3A No. 3 Brownstown Central on Thursday.
In the first half, the Olympians shot 70 percent from the 3-point arc and 52 from the field on 31 shots.
Brownstown Central took an early 8-4 advantage in the first quarter behind six points in the paint by senior forward Cam Shoemaker.
Trailing 21-15 with 2:12 on the clock the Olympians finished on a 6-2 run in part a basket and free throws by Parker Chitty and a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Zach Sanders.
Shoemaker accounted for 12 of the Braves’ points in the opening eight minutes and Sanders drained three 3’s for East.
From the 5:29 to 4:33-mark in the second quarter, Brownstown’s Jacoby Shade scored eight straight points to give the Braves a 31-25 advantage.
At the half, the Braves held a 34-32 lead.
Sanders tallied six made 3-pointers, mostly of dribble drives by Chitty, in the opening half without a miss from deep.
“I didn’t think our close-outs were very good all night — they were slow or long at times which gave them drives to the basket and open 3-pointers,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “We have to get better defensively. Offensively, I thought we played well enough to be up eight to 10 points at halftime we just didn’t guard well enough.”
East followed intermission with a 9-0 scoring string behind four points by Chitty.
The teams battled back and forth in the third quarter, but East led 55-50 after 24 minutes of play.
Brownstown went on a 5-0 run to start the fourth quarter to come within two points behind another three by Shade.
East answered with a 6-0 run, ignited by a dunk from Tanner McFall at 6:53, to go up 61-55 by 5:50.
A steal and and-one conversion by Brownstown junior Cody Waskom brought the game to 69-66, in favor of East, with two minutes left.
While the Braves answered near every basket by the Olympians in the waning minutes, it wasn’t enough for a comeback.
“We had to scramble a little bit defensively, their guards got the ball and attacked us right down the middle of the court,” Benter said. “They put our back guys in tough situations — whether they help or stay back and give the guards shots. I didn’t think we contained well, but our back guys did a good job of sliding and taking charges. I thought we played well enough offensively to win, they just played an outstanding game.”
East shot 73 percent from the field in the second half on 23 shot attempts.
“I love what our kids did,” Olympians coach Brent Chitty said. “I think they showed great composure and confidence, and their character shined through to win one against a very good team.
The Olympians drained 12 3-pointers on the game behind six by Sanders and three from McFall and Chitty.
“We want to dribble drive and have Parker (Chitty) find the open person,” Brent Chitty said. “I thought Tanner (McFall) and Zach (Sanders) light it up. This game is about making shots at every level. Brownstown Central hits shots, they’re a really good shooting team — so you can’t miss much against them.”
Parker Chitty led the Olympians (9-7) with 25 points, Sanders had 20 and McFall chipped-in 15.
Shade topped Brownstown’s scoring with 18 points, Shoemaker had 16 and Waskom added 13.
Both teams finished with 25 rebounds on the night, and the Braves won the turnover battle 11-6.
The Braves (15-2) will play at Clarksville on Saturday for a Mid-Southern Conference matchup.
“Watching the way they share the basketball, their scrappiness, Brownstown Central is an awfully good team,” Brent Chitty said. “Coach Benter will have his team ready to go come the tournament, and they could go (far in the postseason). That’s a really, really good basketball team.”