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Titans’ defense smothers Rams

Olympus leads at halftime and never looks back

SHARE Titans’ defense smothers Rams
Olympus' Rachael Perkins, left, tries to fend off Highland's Losa Faka'Osa.

Olympus’ Rachael Perkins, left, tries to fend off Highland’s Losa Faka’Osa.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

Olympus took advantage ofHighland with a smothering, pressure defense that forced countless turnovers and easy baskets, resulting in a 61-48 victory Friday.

At halftime the Titans had built a 29-20 lead and they never let up.

Both teams started out jittery and were cold from the field. About halfway through the first quarter the Titans employed full-court pressure defense, but the first quarter score only showed an 11-9 lead for Oly.

But in the second quarter Heather Giffen got in gear for the Titans and made a couple of quick steals and easy layins for the halftime lead.

The game could have become ugly, but the officials kept both teams in check with numerous fouls. The Titans had seven called on the center position at the half.

To begin the third quarter, the Titans immediately went inside to Caitlen Besler for an easy two. Then Giffen stole the ensuing inbounds pass and went for a two and one.

The Titans were off to the races. The lead then remained between 10-15 points the remainder of the way.

Highland's first-year coach, Kambria Davis, exhorted her troops but the Titan wave of defenders seemed to overwhelm the Rams at times.

However, the Rams never gave up fighting intensely until the end. Both teams put in reserves for the final three minutes.

Mel White kept the Rams in the game with 16 points. She drove to the basket as well as hit from the outside. But the Titans' Giffen came to play.

"We came out wanting to win," she said. "Our energy was great tonight."

Giffen's line included 16 points, nine rebounds and four steals. She explained her prowess, "I am the point (on the pressure defense) and I read the eyes well."

Her father, Kent ,said she has great hands and that she does have an instinct for the ball. He volunteered that her experience as a professional dancer may have accounted for her agility.

He added, "She is very grateful to be playing this year with the older girls."

She is only a sophomore.

Anna Mahas added 13 points for Olympus. Sia Lelea scored 12 for the Rams to complement White's 16 in a losing effort.

E-mail: wjewkes@desnews.com