Box Score

In a crazy low-scoring 5A state championship game on Saturday, Olympus’ Dutch DowDell willed his team to the title.

When nobody else could make buckets, DowDell delivered time and time again, whether it was 3-pointers or driving layups, and each one alleviated the growing tension against upset-minded Woods Cross.

DowDell eventually burst that anxiety bubble with a dagger 3-pointer in the fourth quarter as the Titans pulled away for a 40-31 victory and their first state championship in four years.

DowDell got a little advice from his older brother Jeremy, who won a title with Olympus in 2018.

“He actually told me before going into the game I just need to be aggressive, and every time I catch the ball I need to do something. Definitely helped me out,” said DowDell, who scored a game-high 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting.

The rest of his teammates combined for 4-of-25 shooting.

That poor shooting from his teammates speaks volumes about how good Olympus’ defense was against a Woods Cross team that scored 75 and 59 points respectively in the previous two rounds.

“Everyone talks about our offense all the time and how good our offense is, and yeah it’s pretty potent and pretty good, but our defense has been terrific this year, and that’s what’s carried us for the most part,” said Olympus coach Matt Barnes.

After Woods Cross shot 53% in the first half to take a 21-16 lead, Olympus held the Wildcats to a paltry 10 points in the second half as it methodically pulled away for the title.

Coaches and teammates praised the defensive tenacity of Anthony Olsen and Luke Lowe, who got the assignment on Woods Cross’ two leading scorers.

Olsen got the task of Mason Bendinger, who’d scored 34 and 19 respectively in the previous two games, and held him to five points on 2 of 11 shooting.

Lowe got the assignment on Woods Cross sharpshooter Jaxon Smith, who was hot early with two deep 3-pointers that set the tone for the Wildcats.

But after those two 3s, he was just 2 of 7 shooting with five more points.

The great defense helped Olympus hang around despite shooting a brutal 18% in the first half, with many of those misses coming at the rim with contact.

“State tournaments are more aggressive, physical,” said Barnes. “I told them we’ve got to be a little tougher. When we go in there we’ve got to take that hit, we’ve got to convert or make a play.”

He admits he was curious how his team would handle the surprise adversity.

“We just grinded it out. I was real curious if we could handle it and do it. We haven’t been in that situation,” said Barnes.

DowDell went right to work coming out of halftime converting a pair of layups and trimming the lead to 21-20. Woods Cross, however, responded with six straight points on a couple of buckets from Zach Delange to push the lead to 27-20.

Things were not looking good for top seed Olympus, but Deseret News 5A tournament MVP Jack Wistrcill said he wasn’t worried.

“The biggest thing is they can only stop us from playing our way for so long. Second half we finally started to get going. Once we get up, everyone’s gotta match our intensity and speed,” he said.

Olympus closed the third quarter on a 7-0 run — with DowDell scoring five of those points — to tie the game at 27-27.

DowDell opened the fourth quarter with a jumper in the lane giving Olympus a 29-27 lead, its first lead and one it would never relinquish.

Wistrcill pushed the lead to 5:38 on a layup at the 5:38 mark, but it was DowDell who had the dagger on a 3-pointer that gave Olympus a 34-28 lead with 4:27 remaining.

DowDell finished the game making 4-of-6 3-pointers. Everyone else was 1 of 12.

After Woods Cross built that seven-point lead midway through the third quarter, Olympus finished the game on a 20-4 run.

After the game, coach Barnes was asked about celebrating the state title with his son Jordan Barnes, the team’s starting point guard.

“I tell Jordy all the time it’s not easy be the coach’s kid, and you’re going to take a lot of crap and a lot of criticism, but he’s so solid and so even-keeled. The whole group, the moment was never too big for these guys,” said Matt Barnes.

Though Jordan Barnes struggled shooting in the championship like most of his teammates, he contributed six steals and five assists to go along with his five points.

Those five assists gave him 255 on the season, which is second in the state record books to former Olympus point guard Rylan Jones.

Deseret News 5A boys all-tournament team

MVP — Jack Wistrcill, Olympus

Dutch Dowdell, Olympus

Jordan Barnes, Olympus

Mason Bendinger, Woods Cross

Jaxon Smith, Woods Cross

Chudi Anosike, Murray