Olympus coach Matt Barnes and Murray’s Jason Workman each have a long history at their respective schools. They graduated from their respective schools and also have been part of the basketball programs for over 30 years.
In that time, they’ve also become good friends and, of course, always asked their teams to compete hard when they played each other. This season is also special because each have their youngest sons on the court at the same time.
But Tuesday night’s match stood out for another reason.
Dutch Dowdell scored 23 points and Jack Wistrcill had 22, but both coaches pointed at Olympus’ passing skills and offensive patience to be the key part of the Titans’ 64-46 win in a Region 6 game.
Jordan Barnes added 11 points as Olympus built a 25-point lead in the third quarter and then hung on to improve its record to 12-1 overall and stay on top (2-0) of the region standings. Murray fell to 8-6 and 1-1.
“I was very pleased for about 80% of the game, and any time we get a win at Murray, I feel better,” said Barnes.
Olympus was never threatened. The Titans never trailed and seemed comfortable taking a 32-16 lead by halftime. They then went on a 9-0 run to start the second half and increased the margin to 25 points.
Barnes said he only felt uncomfortable in the final quarter when the Spartans increased their defensive pressure and forced the majority of Olympus’ 13 turnovers. Chudi Anosike also got the home crowd involved with 19 points, and Workman’s son, Jaxson, nailed three consecutive 3-pointers.
It was too little, too late and, of course, too rare for the Spartans, who Workman feels are still improving and can still make a run at the region crown if the team matures and close games go their way.
“We got frustrated when we couldn’t find our shot, so we’d often end up taking a tough one,” said coach Workman. “For the first half, they (the Titans) played like a state-championship team. They did whatever they wanted.
“I really felt like we could match up with them,” he added. “We have some size and athleticism, but they do all the little things well.”
Wistrcill and Dowdell did most everything well. Wistrcill, a 6-foot-8 senior center, had 15 of his points in the first half and showed a unique ability to score with both hands. Dowdell, a 6-5 sophomore, got hot later, and continued his family’s tradition of accurate 3-point shooting, nailing 4-5 from beyond the arc.
Jordan Barnes, a 6-3 sophomore, scored in double figures for the 10th time already this year. He was consistent, making 5 of 9 shots, and aggressive (four fouls in a relatively clean game). He also had four rebounds as Olympus enjoyed a 38-15 advantage in that department.
“They had three kids who could end up being DI (college) players,” said Workman. “They all played well and they got their shots in places where they knew they could make them.”