Everything kind of went our way and we were terrific at the defensive end. —Olympus head coach Matt Barnes
SALT LAKE CITY — There was a calmness to Olympus when it took the floor for Friday’s 4A semifinal.
Instead of a savvy, grinder team like Orem standing opposite the Titans in the jump circle, they saw themselves. Woods Cross won the Region 5 title playing an up-tempo style, exactly the style the Titans prefer to play.
It’s tough to beat Olympus at its own game, something Woods Cross learned the hard way at the Huntsman Center.
The Titans could do no wrong on either ends of the court for long stretches on Friday as it rolled to the easy 70-42 victory over Woods Cross, advancing to its first 4A title game since 2012.
“Everything kind of went our way and we were terrific at the defensive end,” said Olympus coach Matt Barnes, whose team limited Woods Cross to just 14 points in the second half.
Olympus advances to Saturday’s 4A championship and will face top-ranked Timpview at Noon.
Incredibly, Olympus nearly doubled up Woods Cross in two of the most telling stats in basketball, rebounds and field goal percentage. On the glass, it outrebounded Woods Cross 40-21, and then it shot 59 percent compared to just 30 percent for the Wildcats.
Not surprising, the outcome was well in hand early in the second half.
“I was much more relaxed with this game compared to the game against Orem. Cause Orem’s got some size, some physicality, they’re gonna slow it down and make it tough,” said Barnes. “This game I knew they’d play up tempo with us. They run and shoot it which is how we like to play. I felt good about the match-up, but they still scared me big time.”
Barnes also knew, however, that Woods Cross was capable of flourishing in that up-and-down style too — but it never materialized.
Leading 18-16 very early in the second quarter, the Titans methodically started pulling away. Matt Lindsey hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter, while Isaac Monson and Travis Wagstaff added one each as they stretched the lead to 37-28 at the half.
Barnes thought his players were a bit tight in the last couple minutes of the half though.
“I told the guys there’s 16 minutes to go we’ve got to come out assertive and energetic and go back to the way we started the game,” said Barnes.
Olympus did exactly that. It scored on its first seven possessions of the third quarter to stretch the lead to 50-30 with 3:08 remaining.
The lead swelled to 28 at one point in the fourth quarter before Olympus pulled its started with just under four minutes remaining.
Lindsey led the Titans with 31 points in the victory, with Monson adding a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Lindsey connected on 12 of 15 field goals, coming just three points shy of his career high, but Barnes praised his defense just as much for helping slow down Woods Cross leading scorer Trevin Knell.
“He’s just got a great mindset, and a great attitude and comes to work every day, and so happy for him,” said Barnes of Lindsey.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org