OGDEN — Olympus owned the best 1-2 punch in the state all season, but in the 5A semifinals on Friday night, it was the 1-2 punch of Corner Canyon that took center stage.
Corner Canyon withstood a barrage of second and third quarter 3-pointers from Olympus, and then executed on both ends of the floor almost perfectly in the fourth quarter to stun top-ranked Olympus 77-69 at Weber State.
“In the paint, we had a huge advantage. Whether it was Hayden (or) whether it was Gabe, I thought they were mismatches for them,” said Corner Canyon coach Dan Lunt.
Those mismatches also led to a 35-22 edge on the boards for Corner Canyon.
The win avenged back-to-back playoff ousters to Olympus for Corner Canyon, which will be playing in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game for the second straight year.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it didn’t feel good," Lunt said. "Olympus is a great program, they’re a great team, they have great tradition. They have good players and they’re a class act."
Corner Canyon knew it needed a strong start against Olympus, and it got that in building an early 18-11 lead.
In the second quarter, Olympus went to its bench — specifically Jackson Frank — to climb right back into the game.
With Corner Canyon leading 26-16 midway through the quarter, Frank pulled Olympus back quickly with three straight 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 26-25.
A few possessions later, he converted a 4-point play to push the Titans’ lead to 31-26 and then he made another 3-pointer for the 34-29 lead. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the quarter.
Rylan Jones had the hot hand in the third quarter for Olympus as he made three 3-pointers, scoring 13 of his team-high 25 points in the quarter.
Olympus made 10 of its 13 3-pointers in the middle two quarters, but instead of leading by double digits with that efficiency, the Titans only led 56-50 heading into the fourth quarter.
Corner Canyon matched Olympus’ efficiency throughout the third quarter to remain within striking distance.
“I’m proud of our kids. They had some resiliency. In different times in the past we would’ve panicked and started casting up 3s and our kids refocused and got the ball where we had the advantage and that was inside,” Lunt said.
In the fourth quarter, Corner Canyon scored on every possession but one, and all of those points came either came at the rim or the free-throw line. Olympus, meanwhile, kept going to the well trying to make 3-pointers but the well had dried up.
During a four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, Corner Canyon turned a 58-54 deficit into a 64-58 lead after Olympus missed four straight 3-pointers.1 comment on this story
Jones finally ended the drought for Olympus with a 3-pointer at the 1:38 mark to cut the deficit to 64-61, but the Chargers sealed the win from the free-throw line. It made 17 of 20 free throws in the fourth quarter.
“I’m proud of our kids. They came in and I thought the second half we executed our game plan to a T. We felt that we had a huge advantage in the paint, and we felt the first half we didn’t utilize that,” Lunt said.
In addition to the big contributions from Toombs and Welling, Trace Ross scored 12 points for Corner Canyon, and Phil Harris came off the bench and played great defense against Jones on the perimeter.