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High school basketball: Titans' quick start buries East

By Bruce Smith

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 5 2011 2:58 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Sam Williams has the Olympus Titans running like a well-oiled machine.

Heading into the homestretch of the 2010 boys basketball season, the Titans are making a run at the Region 6 title. Friday night, they took another step forward with a convincing 59-45 win over East.

Will Cannon scored 17 points, Colton Stewart had 16 and Williams 12 as Oly forced East into four consecutive turnovers to start the game and never looked back, building 19-point halftime advantage and the Titans were never really threatened after that.

The win improved Oly to 12-5 overall and 6-2 in region, which is good for third place with four games to play (three at home). East fell to 10-7 overall and 3-5 in region. The Leopards are in fifth place and are likely looking at a play-in game later this month to make the state tournament.

Oly coach Matt Barnes said his team is starting to peak. After losing a 53-50 heartbreaker to Highland a week ago, the Titans whipped Woods Cross 82-63 Tuesday.

“We just finished a stretch where we played five of six games on the road, and we won all the road games,” Barnes said. “We got off to a great start tonight and put them on their heels early.”

Williams had a lot to do with it.

The 6-foot senior, who became Oly’s point guard at about this time last season when injuries forced Barnes to reach down to his JV team, was instrumental in scoring, passing and on defense.

“They took it to us early,” said East coach Skip Lowe. We made a lot of mistakes, but they got a lot of good looks. You can’t do that against a good team.”

Oly held East without a field goal in the second quarter and built its margin to 35-16. Lowe implored his team to come out in the third period with a lot of energy, and they responded. Tanner Curtis was hustling all over the court and helped the Leopards cut the margin to nine points before Williams answered. Williams scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, including a pair of jump shots late in the third quarter when East started building momentum.

Williams was the obvious key to Oly’s offense after that. Earlier, it was Colton Stewart’s ability to hit from three-point range that helped build the lead. Cannon also had a good game, and grabbed several key rebounds in the final minutes. He finished with a game-high 10 boards.

East’s top scorer was Parker Van Dyke, who had 15 of his 17 points after halftime. Larson added 14.

East, however, was hampered by foul problems, and Lowe had to constantly adjust his lineup to deal with it. In the end, center Arik Mawien fouled out, and Larson and Mike Hansen had four fouls.

“It was hard for us to get any kind of continuity,” Lowe said.

Bruce Smith is owner of Matchup, a Utah-based company that provides high school sports teams with various publications. For information, see www.matchupUT.com.

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