West Valley City • The Olympus players and coaches are well aware of the historic task that awaits them Saturday.
The Titans will attempt to win the school’s first boys’ basketball state championship when they square off withNo. 1 Orem in the Class 4A championship.
They took the most recent step in emphatic fashion Friday afternoon at the Maverik Center. Olympus dominated the third quarter and made 19 of 24 free throws in the second half to dispose of Provo 64-51.
Will Cannon scored a game-high 24 points and made all 12 of his free-throw attempts as the Titans (18-6) won for the eighth time in nine games and reached the title game for the sixth time in school history.
“I think we are going to be really excited,” said Cannon, who also grabbed seven rebounds and had five steals. “[Today] we came out a little anxious in the first half and wanted to get going. But at halftime, coach [Matt] Barnes talked to us and told us to stay within our game.”
Olympus outscored Provo 18-7 in the third quarter, as Cannon and Nick Barney — two of the seven seniors who played 10 minutes or more — keyed a 12-0 run to push the lead to double figures.
“We were terrific in the second half,” said Barnes, in his 15th season at Olympus. “We hit big shots — Will was a monster inside. … I’ve been at Olympus a long time, and this is my second trip to the finals. It’s quite a joy and quite a dream.”
Cannon scored 18 points after halftime, and Barney finished with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Provo (14-10) closed the deficit to seven at 46-39 midway through the third quarter, but the Bulldogs struggled from 3-point range and failed to get any closer.
Adam Finch had 14 points and Jonathan Flake added 10 points and 13 rebounds for Provo, which shot just 2 of 11 from beyond the arc in the second half.
Olympus will try to make history Friday in its first title game since 2001.
“We all knew we could get here,” Cannon said. “We all believe in this team, and we know we are a good team.”
R The Titans use a 12-0 run in the third quarter to take the lead and never look back as they reach the final for the first time since 2001.
• Provo leads 25-24 at halftime but shoots just 2 of 11 from 3-point range in the second half.
• Olympus forward Will Cannon leads all scorers with 24 points.