AMERICAN FORK — The Olympus Titans won the Elite 8 basketball classic for the second straight year. This time, the way they did it was with a clinic.
The Titans showed their shooting talent Saturday evening and blew out American Fork 92-56 in the tourney’s championship game.
Jeremy DowDell scored 23 points, Spencer Jones had 22 and Rylan Jones 20 as the Titans improved to 4-0 so far this season. Olympus shot 58.8 percent from the field and made 17 3-pointers. Several were so far past the 3-point line that former BYU standout Jimmer Fredette would have been proud.
“We were on a hot streak for quite a while,” said Olympus coach Matt Barnes. “But it’s a team thing. We are a confident group right now.”
“I should have checked the rims,” joked American Fork coach Doug Meacham. “I’ve been coaching for a while and I haven’t seen too many performances like that.”
Meacham said he tried various defenses — man-to-man, zone and even some “junk” zones — but none seemed to work. Olympus made 6 of 9 3-pointers in the first quarter, took a 24-15 lead and never let up. The score was 49-32 at halftime and, after Spencer Jones nailed four treys in the third period, the lead reached 40 points before both teams began substituting.
American Fork fell to 4-2 for this season. The Cavemen got 17 points from 6-foot-11 center Isaac Johnson. Meacham said his team didn’t play poorly, but perhaps got away from its game plan, which was to take advantage of Johnson and 6-foot-8 Zach McWhorter.
The Cavemen couldn’t keep pace and must appreciate that they finished second among eight of Utah’s top traditional programs on their home court.
In other games Saturday, Copper Hills downed Corner Canyon 84-75 for third place, Davis beat Brighton 67-43 for fifth and Bingham overwhelmed Bountiful 81-45.
Olympus averaged 80 points per game in its three wins. The Titans had so many individual standout performances that tournament officials couldn’t choose a most valuable player, and selected the entire Titan team instead.
“We really don’t have an MVP,” said Barnes. “We’re playing really well, but it’s still only the preseason. It all starts with our defense, and we have to keep it going.”
Olympus' defense limited American Fork to 4-24 shooting from 3-point range. The Titans were credited with 12 steals and, despite a significant height disadvantage, were only out-rebounded 27-26. Ironically, the game only had two blocked shots, and both were credited to Spencer Jones.
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high school sports articles for the Deseret News.