To extend its winning streak to five games, Brownstown Central’s boys basketball team needed to dig deep.
The Braves (12-4) overcame a slow offensive start to edge Columbus East 43-40 on Thursday at the pit.
The Olympians (8-7) went on an 8-2 run behind three points each by Drew Johnson and Matthew Frost in the opening four minutes.
Following a free throw by the Braves’ Braden Neal and a score from Michael Boshears, East score six unanswered points — including back-to-back baskets from Drew Hasson — to lead 16-5 at the end of eight minutes of play.
In the second quarter, the teams reversed roles.
Brownstown Central went on a 5-2 run to cut the deficit to 18-10 with 3:53 left in the half.
After a score by East’s Carson Whitehead, the Braves closed the second quarter with an 8-0 scoring streak.
At the break, the Olympians held a 20-18 advantage.
Brownstown was 8-for-20 from the field shooting in the first half and East made 9 of 20.
“We played so poorly the first quarter,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “I didn’t have our guys prepared. We turned the ball over, missed open shots and broke down defensively. I thought when Hayden Kinsler went in during the second quarter, our energy level went up. I thought he played really well and gave us a boost off the bench.”
The teams exchanged the lead twice and tied once before Caleb Bollinger got a layup to fall and Seth Borden converted an and-one to put the Braves up 29-24 with 2:04 left in the third quarter.
East answered with an and-one from Johnson and free throws by Frost to tie the game at 29 going into the final eight minutes of play.
Free throws by Frost and a basket by Carson Whitehead gave the Olympians the lead back two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Braves didn’t back down.
East held onto a one-point lead until Cameron Luedeman fought through contact for a score to put the Braves up 36-35 with 1:11 remaining.
Frost scored on the ensuing possession, but the Braves made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 29 seconds to help seal the win.
Frost hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for East, but the Olympians didn’t get another possession for a chance to tie the game.
Luedeman led the Braves with 13 points, and Frost topped the Olympians’ scoring with 14.
The Braves outrebounded the Olympians 36-22, and won the turnover margin 15-13.
“I thought in the second half, we defended and rebounded the basketball really well,” Benter said. “The big thing at halftime was our ball movement. I thought our rebounding was great, and we only had three turnovers in the second half.”
The Braves will play a Mid-Southern Conference game at Clarksville on Saturday.