SALT LAKE CITY — The Olympus Titans are Region 6 champions once again. The Titans claimed their latest region crown after defeating East 74-55 on the road on Friday night.
“It’s always fun to win,” said Olympus head coach Matt Barnes. "We cherish region championships and we push hard every year — that’s one of our main goals. To come over here, big game, on the road, they’re (East) playing well, they’re physical, they’re tough, (I'm) really happy how we responded."
According to Barnes, Olympus point guard Rylan Jones was feeling under the weather, but he certainly didn’t show it in his play, scoring a game-high 30 points. Teammate Jeremy DowDell poured in 27 points, including six 3-pointers, as the two combined for 57 of Olympus’s 74 points.
“They’re a great one-two punch. They’re just so good,” Barnes said. "Teams work so hard to take Jeremy away. He’s a tough cover, he got to the basket early, got his # going a little bit. First half, they were right there. Third quarter, we came out and got after it defensively and got those two going again in the third. They’re just two terrific kids and we’re going to miss them, for sure."
East played good defense on Olympus in the opening quarter and went into halftime trailing by just five. Andre Mulibea scored 21 points and Taylor Zwick added 19 to lead the Leopards.
“They’re tough, they’re physical, they’re aggressive, they were making it hard on us,” Barnes said. "It was 37-32 (at halftime), pretty good high school game, both teams playing pretty well and then we had to step it up on the defensive end a little bit to be a little tougher and smarter, rotate a little better. We got it going but it all started with our defense in the third quarter."
After halftime, Olympus turned it on, firing a barrage of 3-pointers and scoring 26 points in the third quarter, while locking down on defense. The Titans allowed 21 points in the second quarter, but limited the Leopards to just 23 total points in the second half.
“We just talked about doing what we’re supposed to be doing; we talked about (how) the big guy’s a load in there, we’ve got to be monstering him inside and we’ve got to be rotating on the outside and then we’ve got to rebound and make them take tough shots, and we did a better job,” Barnes said. “End of the second quarter, we gave up too many easy ones, we weren’t where we were supposed to be."
Barnes enjoyed watching his team’s third quarter run on Friday night. Olympus has one more regular season game, against rival Skyline on Tuesday, before tournament play starts.1 comment on this story
“I cherish every moment. It’s winding down, but you’ve got two really special players out there and a great group of guys that play well together," Barnes said. "Sometimes we just want to score so fast, (but) we’ve got to slow down a little bit and make them work a little bit and get great shots. The way they play well together and work off each other. You saw the one play, the little slip and Jeremy gets the layup, Rylan’s a terrific point guard and Jeremy’s a terrific shooter and scorer and it’s a lot of fun."