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SALT LAKE CITY — One more game.
That was the message to the Olympus Titans, who continued their undefeated streak all the way to the Class 5A state finals after defeating the Bountiful High School Braves, 79-43.
The Titans came into Saturday’s semifinal matchup with their eyes set squarely on getting back to the championship game for a fourth straight season. Last year, the Titans were defeated in double overtime in the championship game, but they’re laser focused on this season and their final game against Corner Canyon for 5A supremacy.
“These guys are so cool and so calm and just so confident,” Olympus coach Matt Barnes said. “It’s been an unbelievable year. To run the table and get this far is incredible. We’re gonna give it a go tomorrow and try and finish it.
“I think there’s a lot of internal personal motivation,” added Barnes, “I never talk about last year. I’m one of those guys who I focus on this year. I told you before, I don’t wear my state championship ring, as proud as I am. Every year is different. I think these guys deep down, internally, are like ‘hey we wanna prove something’ and for 26 games, they’ve been awesome. So we need one more.”
Olympus was in the driver’s seat for most of the game. There was only one lead change and the Titans never looked back. Senior Jeremy Dowdell led the Titans with 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting.
Junior point guard Rylan Jones was extremely efficient with 17 points and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Even though the game was never in doubt, seeing Olympus go a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe is encouraging.
Barnes pointed out that his team’s defensive effort is what was key to their victory. Olympus shut down Bountiful to only 18 points in the paint and 33% shooting from the floor. The Braves also turned the ball over 10 times, to which the Titans scored 11 points off of.
“If we get steals and cause turnovers, that means their defense can’t set up and we’re best when we’re in transition,” Jones said. “That’s what our defense did tonight. Our last two games, we’ve been really good defensively, we gotta keep it up tomorrow. If we do that, I like our chances.”
Olympus scored 24 points in transition, while Bountiful didn’t score at all.
The Braves leading scorer was Brig Willard who had 17 points. Willard was the only Brave to score in double digits.
The 5A final opponent will be the Corner Canyon Chargers. Olympus has an opportunity to win two titles in three years, and do so while staying undefeated. The Chargers have an opportunity to take down Goliath, but it won’t be easy.
“It’ll be a fun battle tomorrow,” Jones said.