West Valley City • It was the shining moment for Olympus — or at least as close as the Titans got to one.
Nick Barney’s 3-pointer sailed in gently, the Titans had cut Orem’s lead to four points, and the Olympus faithful were making the Maverik Center shake. Orem had to call a timeout.
It would be the closest the Titans would get to the program’s first Class 4A state championship, as the Tigers went on a late run and held tough at the free-throw line Saturday afternoon. And although Olympus was crestfallen in defeat, at least it proved it belonged in the finals — where few would’ve predicted they could end up.
“What a ride,” coach Matt Barnes said. “No one expected us to be here. Our thing all year was we could beat anybody … the kids stuck to that up until that last game. But they did a great job this year.”
Orem finished with a 58-50 victory that turned out to be much more hard fought than most expected. Early in the second quarter, the Titans even led by three points. However, the Tigers’ overpowering interior line — led by Jordan Darger and Dalton Nixon — led the team on a 14-0 run that left Olympus playing catch-up for the rest of the game.
Even then, however, the Titans were not done. They went on a run of their own to narrow the lead — if not for a Zach Hunsaker 3-pointer, Olympus would’ve been three points away at halftime.
“We thought we could come out and play with them,” senior forward Will Cannon said. “[Barnes said] just keep fighting, never give up. My teammates were terrific.”
Despite being overwhelmed with Orem’s size, Cannon still led Olympus with 13 points and shot 5-for-6 at the line. He and Jackson Coleman combined for 17 rebounds, and the Titans as a team had only three fewer boards than Orem.
The late 3-pointers boosted the Titans’ title hopes. Coleman finished with three long-range shots, and Barney and Jake Bengtzen each had a pair.
Olympus didn’t win, but it wasn’t brushed off, either. And the Titans will remember that — along with all the other, more happy memories of being on a close-knit team.
“Just off the court, we got a lot of camaraderie going,” said senior Parker Rawlings, who recalled team outings that drew some laughter in a teary-eyed locker room. “We did a lot of things together that will stick with us for the rest of our lives, because we love each other.”
Titans drop a hard-fought title game
• Will Cannon finishes with a team-high 13 points and nine rebounds.
• The Titans shoot eight 3-pointers, including several in the second half that narrow Orem’s lead.