OGDEN — It was a wild first game at the Dee Events Center on Tuesday, but Olympus did just enough to hold off the underdog Ogden Tigers in their own backyard.
Despite missing potential game-winning buzzer beaters at the end of regulation and the first overtime, the Titans finally started making free throws in the second overtime to survive with a 59-53 victory in the first round of the 4A state tournament.
"In the state tourneys, you never know what you're going to get with us," said Olympus coach Matt Barnes, whose teams have a history of early tourney exits.
There were stretches of Tuesday's game where it looked like the Titans would be heading home early again. Dominance on the offensive glass and a harassing full-court press helped Olympus fight through the struggles — 30 percent shooting — to squeak out the victory in front of a partisan Ogden crowd.
"If you look at the preseason games we schedule, we've been in tough environments." said Barnes. "We knew it would be a home court for them, but we just had to come in and handle ourselves and keep our composure."
Nobody did that better than Olympus guard Sam Williams. His pressure defense helped Olympus overcome an early double-digit deficit, and then he hit some clutch shots down the stretch.
He thought he'd won the game at the end of regulation after releasing a baseline jumper at the buzzer, but the ball grazed off the front of the rim and then the back of the rim with the game tied at 47-47.
"I've hit a couple of those this year; I thought it was in for sure," said Williams who finished with 16 points, six assists and seven steals.
In the first overtime, Ogden looked poised to win its first playoff game in more than a decade after jumping out to a 51-47 lead with 1:59 remaining. It might've had it not allowed Olympus to grab two of its 25 offensive rebounds in those final two minutes.
After Olympus' Colton Stewart, who recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity, the Titans grabbed the rebound to keep the possession alive and Williams hit a running jumper to whittle Ogden's lead to 51-49.
The Titans' full-court press quickly forced Ogden into one of its 20 turnovers, which Cannon converted into a breakaway lay-up while being fouled. He missed his and-one free throw, but Oly grabbed the rebound again and opted to play for the last shot with a minute remaining.
Like Williams, Carter Young thought his jumper was going in, but it also bounced off the rim.
"We love to crash the boards. We're a little bit smaller, so we have to get on the offensive glass to get more shots," said Williams, whose team made 21 of 70 shots in the win.
Ogden missed a couple of easy layups to start the second overtime, and it never recovered as Olympus pulled away by making 6 of 8 free throws. The Titans grabbed the offensive rebound on one of those misses, which resulted in two more free throws by Williams as he put his team ahead 56-51 with 35 seconds remaining.
"They were a scrappy team. They played really hard. I wasn't really expecting double overtime, but we'll take what we can get," said Williams.
Early on the Tigers were more than just scrappy, they were very good. They jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead and extended it to 18-10 by the end of the first quarter.
It maintained the cushion until the half, but the Titans used a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 29-27 by halftime.
"We weren't expecting them to shoot like that. I tip my hat to them, they shot it well and luckily we were able to come back," said Williams.
Olympus led by as many as five in the fourth quarter, but Ogden scored on its last five possessions to help send the game into overtime.
Jake Lower led Ogden with 12 points in the loss, while Will Cannon came up huge for the Titans with 10 points and 18 rebounds — 12 of them offensive.
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