The second half we kind of dug our heels in a little bit, lowered our stances, and we started boxing out better in the second half and rebounded the ball harder. —Alec Monson, Olympus
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — When Jake Lindsey is attacking the basket, Alec Monson is making shots and controlling the defensive glass, and Olympus’ supporting cast is knocking down 3-pointers, the Titans are a very good basketball team.
When the players are also committed defensively, Olympus is one of the best in the state, something Brighton found out Tuesday night.
Leading by five at the half, the Titans upped their defensive intensity in the second half, limiting Brighton to just 18 points, on their way to a convincing 75-48 road victory.
“We were just breaking down defensively a little in the first half. The second half we kind of dug our heels in a little bit, lowered our stances, and we started boxing out better in the second half and rebounded the ball harder,” said Monson, who scored a game-high 26 points and added nine rebounds. “It was a good defensive performance in the second half for us, probably the best defense we’ve played all season.”
That performance came against a motivated Brighton team that featured previously injured Brock Miller in the starting lineup for the first time all season. The junior was rusty as expected, finishing with just 10 points, but realistically Olympus’ stout defense frustrated all the Bengals as they combined to shoot just 31 percent from the field.
Midway through the second quarter, Olympus was in control at 31-18, but the Bengals used a 12-4 run to trim the deficit to five by halftime.
“The second half was all about the defensive side,” said Olympus coach Matt Barnes. “The whole focal point was we had to step it up defensively, make them take tougher shots, rebound better, and get out and run. And we did a great job of that.”
Brighton made just 3 of 13 shots in the third quarter as Olympus increased its lead to 55-39 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, the efficient Titans scored on seven of their first nine possessions to stretch the lead to 71-43 before both coaches emptied the benches with 3:01 remaining.
Lindsey scored seven of his 24 points during a 60-second stretch of the fourth quarter, all on driving layups, as Olympus finished the game shooting 52 percent from the field to wrap up the preseason with a 9-2 record.
“It’s all preseason. Now starting Friday we’re playing for keeps,” said Barnes, whose team opens Region 7 play at rival Skyline on Friday.
Lindsey and Monson combined for 50 of Olympus’ 75 points to steal the spotlight Tuesday, but their teammates made quiet contributions as well with five 3-pointers and a necessary commitment defensively.