Perfection: Titans cap off unbeaten season with state title
Apr 09, 2018 11:22AM
● By Josh McFadden
The Olympus boys basketball team finished a 27-0 season with a blowout win over Corner Canyon in the Class 5A state championship game.
The Class 5A state tournament proved something to all high school boys basketball fans in Utah: Olympus was the best team — by a wide margin.
Olympus left no doubt it was far and away 5A’s best squad, routing Corner Canyon 76-49 in the championship game. In its four postseason games, Olympus did the same thing it did all season long: dominate. The Titans marched to the 5A championship by winning in the state tournament by an average of 33 points. During its 27-0 season, the Titans won by an average score of 84-57.
Olympus captured its second title in the past three seasons. The unblemished season also helped remove some of the bad taste of last season’s state title loss to Springville.
“It was an unbelievable season altogether,” said head coach Matt Barnes. “To win all 27 games is pretty amazing. The way we won in dominant fashion was off the charts. I think this will go down as one of the best high school teams in Utah ever.”
In the championship, the Titans turned a close game in the first quarter into a one-sided affair with a strong second period. Up 21-15 heading into the second quarter, the Titans went on a 25-9 run to push their lead to 46-24 at halftime. It proved to be insurmountable, as Olympus was never threatened the rest of the way.
Olympus shot an incredible 68 percent from the field, hitting 30 of 44 shots. Corner Canyon also got off 44 shots but hit just 18.
Rylan Jones delivered another all-around strong performance. The junior future University of Utah player scored 24 points and had six rebounds and six assists. Senior Harrison Creer chipped in 21 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Jeremy DowDell had 13 points and four rebounds. Olympus hit at least 70 points for the 26th time in 27 games this season.
Olympus’ run to the title game started with an 86-59 win over Brighton. Creer and Spencer Jones shared the team high of 24 points. Brighton held Rylan Jones to nine points, but the guard had 10 assists and three steals. DowDell had 15 points and five rebounds. Olympus was a perfect 10 for 10 from the foul line and hit 57 percent of its field goals.
In the quarterfinals, the Titans faced Viewmont, Region 5’s second-place team. Like so many other games this season, this one was for all intents and purposes over by halftime. The Titans led 29-11 after the first quarter and 51-27 at halftime, en route to an 86-45 victory. Rylan Jones was just shy of a coveted triple-double. He scored 16 points and had nine rebounds and 11 assists. DowDell had 24 points, including six 3-pointers, and Creer contributed 21 points and six rebounds.
The Titans moved on to the semifinals, where they crushed another Region 5 foe, Bountiful, 79-43. The Braves hung in there during the first quarter, keeping within 20-14 of Olympus. But the Titans turned up the pressure on both ends of the quarter, outscoring Bountiful 19-8 in the second quarter and 26-11 in the third quarter. By the time the fourth quarter began, Olympus was resting its starters, preparing for the state title with a commanding 65-33 advantage. DowDell had 26 points and six rebounds, and Rylan Jones had another terrific outing with 17 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Spencer Jones and Creer each had 13 points.
Olympus faced every team’s best effort each night, yet the Titans continued to rack up the victories, usually by blowout.
“We met the challenge every night,” Barnes said. “I tell the kids to cherish winning because it’s not easy. We always talked about urgency from the start and putting people behind us early.”
Barnes was also grateful for the interest and support his team got from the community and school.
“The community and so many people care,” he said. “We had big crowds; everyone was so emotionally involved. The Holladay community was great.”
Olympus must replace some key players for the 2018–19 season. Creer and Spencer Jones will graduate after averaging 18.2 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. However, both Rylan Jones and DowDell will come back for their senior seasons. Rylan Jones scored 18.3 points per game and chipped in 6.6 rebounds and 9.9 assists an outing. DowDell led the team with 20.7 points per game.
“We look forward to next year to make another run,” Barnes said.