Olympic High’s resolve was tested, but never in doubt.
The Trojans, ranked fifth in the Sweet 16, outscored East Mecklenburg 17-10 in the fourth quarter to hang on for a 63-53 nonconference high school basketball win Tuesday at Olympic. It was their 35th straight victory dating to last season.
The Trojans, who haven’t lost in the calendar year, got a stiff test from East Mecklenburg (4-2), which used stifling defense to keep Olympic (5-0) from getting open looks at the basket.
“You always feel good with a win,” Trojans coach Ty Baumgardner said, “but we’ve got a lot of things that need to be addressed and corrected. . .”
Olympic’s best player, guard C.J. Jackson, led all scorers with 20 points, but Trojans forward Malik Contanstine came up big in the second half with 11 of his 15 points after the break. The pair teamed up for 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Trojans started to pull away.
While East Meck’s defense focused on harassing Jackson, Constantine provided the low-post threat that kept Olympic going despite trailing 33-31 early in the third quarter.
“Malik is a big part of what we do,” Baumgardner said. “We’ve got to find a way to get him the ball more, because nine times out of 10, when he gets the ball, good things happen.”
John Rankin led East Meck with 14 points and A.J. Horne added nine. East Meck’s defensive effort disrupted Olympic’s rhythm, forcing the Trojans to adapt just enough to keep the Eagles at bay during the decisive fourth quarter.
“We kind of just survived tonight against a really good basketball team,” Baumgardner said. “East Meck is going to be a problem in the Southwestern 4A. They’re going to in the mix with everybody else for that title. They play hard, they played physical with us and they guarded us well.”
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