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High school boys basketball: No. 1 Olympus buries Brighton early to cap undefeated Region 6 season

SHARE High school boys basketball: No. 1 Olympus buries Brighton early to cap undefeated Region 6 season
Olympus’ Jack Wistrcill goes up for a layup during a high school boys basketball game against Brighton at Olympus High School.

Olympus’ Jack Wistrcill (15) goes up for a layup during a high school boys basketball game against Brighton at Olympus High School in Holladay on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.

Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

Box score

Olympus coach Matt Barnes was caught off guard pregame on Friday night when school administrators called him to midcourt so they could celebrate his 25 years as the school’s boys basketball head coach.

Barnes said he was humbled and honored by the surprise celebration, but quickly deflected the attention back on his players — particularly the seven seniors who were celebrating senior night.

The energy created pregame in front of the packed Olympus student section dressed for that night’s Sweethearts school dance spilled over into the game.

Sharp-shooting Olympus jumped all over visiting Brighton, building a quick 15-0 lead and never letting up as it rolled to the resounding 92-43 victory to cap a perfect Region 6 regular season.

“It’s been when one of those years that’s just been so fun, and to cap it off like this against Brighton who’s become a big rival these last couple years and then to play the way we played,” said Barnes, whose team figures to be the top seed heading into the 5A state tournament, which begins next week.

“Hopefully we can finish it off the next two weeks, but it’s not going to be easy. There’s a lot of good teams.”

Incredibly, Olympus’ 49-point win over Brighton on Friday wasn’t its largest win of the season, as it beat Weber by 51 points in a preseason tournament back in December.

Luke Lowe got things going with two early 3-pointers as the Titans finished with 13 made 3-pointers from seven different players.

Jack Wistrcill finished with a game-high 31 points, with Dutch DowDell adding 22 points on four 3-pointers.

Barnes said he was very impressed by how his players tuned out all the distractions and were dialed in from the opening tip.

“Nothing really rattles them. With all the senior night distraction, the dance tonight and my thing, they were just locked in and we came in ready to go,” said Barnes.

A couple of wake-up calls the previous two games certainly helped with that focus. Last week, Olympus narrowly beat East 62-56 in a game that was a one-possession game with three minutes remaining.

Then earlier this week, Olympus only led Skyline by three at the half before it pulled away emphatically and won 69-38.

Friday’s outcome was never in doubt, and the team celebrated by cutting down the nets in front of a rowdy student section.

“It’s tough to win. I tell the kids all the time, ‘It’s hard to win. Cherish winning, ‘cause it’s not easy,’” said Barnes.

Winning is something Olympus has done a lot of during Barnes’ tenure, and he’s excited to keep the tradition going, as Friday was by no means a retirement party.

“Twenty five years is crazy nowadays in the business, but it’s just so much fun and so many great players and great kids,” Barnes said.

“Olympus is a special place. I went to school here, and to do the things we’ve done and the fun we’ve had, it’s the best place around.”