Prep boys' basketball: Davis handles Olympus
Holladay • There was one minute left, and Olympus was in a full-court press, trying desperately to claw out any hope that still existed of a comeback. But Davis passed nimbly, once then twice, to break the defense and find a two-on-one heading the other way.
Elijah Kletzki cut from the far-side wing as the play developed, and the pass from Tony Feick found him in stride two steps, then the leap. The senior center's one-handed dunk rattled the backboard, sending the Davis bench springing from their seats.
After the remaining seconds ticked off the clock, the Darts in dominant fashion had claimed an 83-68 road win over the previously undefeated Titans.
The outcome, in truth, already had been decided before the dunk the points were inconsequential. But the message the slam sent loomed large. To cap the fourth leg of a preseason gantlet designed to test whether Davis has mettle, the Darts were providing an emphatic answer.
"We bring on those challenges," said star guard Jesse Wade, who finished with 25 points. "When we get into region and the state tournament, there shouldn't really be anything we haven't faced. We should know what kind of team we are this season because of all the good teams we're playing."
After a season-opening loss at Alta, the Darts now have won three in a row, over Salem Hills, Brighton and Olympus, the latter two coming on the road. And the schedule doesn't ease up, with games against Bingham, Judge Memorial and Roy upcoming, any of which the Darts could lose if they play subpar or even if they don't. Â
Darts coach Jay Welk complied the schedule in hopes his team would find an identity early. He believes they have.
"The only thing I probably would do differently is I wouldn't play so many on the road," Darts coach Welk said, laughing, of the preseason schedule. "It's just a tough thing. But it gives you some idea where you're at as a team. You want to have a good feel for who you are."
It was clear on Tuesday who the Darts were. They were a team with a killer instinct.
After Titans stars Jake Lindsey and Alec Monson heated up to cut an early Davis lead to two in the third quarter, the Darts responded.
They countered with Wade, whose quick slashes to the basket got him to the line 16 times, and with Kletzki. The senior in previous seasons had been buried on the depth chart, but he now is flourishing with extended playing time. He had a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds against the Titans
Kletzki's teammates say they aren't surprised at his production, and they believe the way he complements their talented backcourt has been a large reason the Darts have responded so well to the tough schedule.
"Elijah is one of the hardest workers you'll ever see," guard Abel Porter said. "He's got a great jump shot and he's confident around the basket. You would have thought he's been starting since his freshman year out there. He's a great player."
Davis 83, Olympus 68
O Elijah Kletzki's game-high 27 points lead the Darts to a nonregion road win.
• Titans Jake Lindsey and Alec Monson combine for 41 in the loss.