One of the state’s biggest rivalries resumed Friday night, and this time, Skyline won more than pride.
The Eagles managed to hold onto a 59-52 road win over archrival Olympus. Beating the Titans is always its own reward, but this time Skyline also earned outright control of Region 7 in probably the toughest venue to get such a victory.
“Mind-boggling,” point guard DeSean Miller said. “Bigger than the state tournament to me right there. Small gym, all packed, emotions. … It was crazy.”
Miller was the Eagles’ go-to man in the fourth quarter, stepping to the free-throw line and driving for layups and short jumpers. The senior finished with 23 points, including going 7-for-10 on foul shots in the final period.
Throughout the game, Miller helped add a dynamic flair to the offense that the Titans seemed to lack. His cuts into the lane and direction of ball movement helped spread the floor and keep Olympus guessing.
“When you’ve got players like that,” coach Derek Bunting said, “they can make whatever you run look good.”
It paid off down the stretch as Skyline hit a wall on offense. The Titans trailed at halftime 37-28, but narrowed the lead to 44-40 entering the third quarter. Miller scored 11 of the team’s 15 fourth-quarter points when Olympus began to press.
The most impressive feat by the Eagles might’ve been the number they did on leading Olympus scorer Will Cannon. The 6-foot-6 forward was held to only eight points as Skyline collapsed around him, forcing the Titans’ 3-point shooters to knock down attempts.
Olympus did manage eight long-range shots — including three by Nick Barney — but couldn’t catch up. Free-throw shooting also hurt the Titans: They went only 4-for-10 from the line in the fourth quarter.