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High school boys basketball: Olympus buries 14 3s, runs winning streak over rival Skyline to 17

SHARE High school boys basketball: Olympus buries 14 3s, runs winning streak over rival Skyline to 17
Olympus’ Zakk Albert is fouled by Skyline’s Jack Huntsman

Olympus’ Zakk Albert is fouled by Skyline’s Jack Huntsman as they play at Skyline on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Olympus won 68-35.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Box Score

Lights-out defense and lights-out shooting were a lethal combination for Olympus boys basketball on Friday night.

Olympus knocked down double digit 3-pointers for the fifth straight game and at the other end held Skyline 13 points below its previous season low as the Titans dominated from the opening tip on their way to the 68-35 road victory.

The win was Olympus’ 12th straight since a season-opening loss to 6A’s American Fork as it also improved to 2-0 in region play.

Skyline was riding a four-game winning streak heading into the game, including a region-opening win over East earlier in the week. It was hoping to build on that momentum against rival Olympus, but fell behind quickly and only scored 14 points in the first half.

“I thought we were really focused defensively and locked in and I thought we did a nice job making it hard on them so I was really proud of their effort,” said Olympus coach Matt Barnes, whose team has won 17 straight games against Skyline dating back to 2015.

Dutch Dowdell led the way for Olympus with 22 points on four 3-pointers, with Zakk Albert adding 19 points on five 3-pointers.

Olympus made 14 3-pointers overall, raising its season average to 10 3-pointers per game. During the decisive stretch late in the second quarter, it made five straight 3-pointers as the lead swelled from 18-8 to 33-14 heading into the half.

Albert and Jordan Barnes accounted for two each during the stretch.

“We just have a good group of guys that can shoot it, and when we shoot like that, yeah for sure we’re tough to beat, but I thought the key tonight was our defense,” said Matt Barnes.

At the start of the season, coach Barnes admits he wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his team. On the one hand returning two starting guards — Dowdell and Jordan Barnes — from last year’s 5A championship team was a great luxury, but they were the only contributing players returning.

The biggest adjustment has been learning to play without the physical post presence of last year’s 5A Player of the Year, Jack Wistrcill.

“We lived the good life with Jack for the three years and now we’re kind of back to the old Olympus from my early years of being small and pressing,” said Barnes, who said there was no need to press against Skyline on Friday with their strong guard line.

“It’s taken a little of time, it’s new for us, we haven’t played this way for awhile. We’re just kind of finding each other,” said Barnes.

During the majority of the game on Friday, the Titans had the equivalent of five guards on the floor with all capable of shooting and dribble penetration. It gradually wore down Skyline’s defense.

Albert’s emergence as a dangerous perimeter shooter recently has created a quality third scoring option for the Titans. In Olympus’ first eight games, he averaged 9.0 ppg with nine total 3-pointers. In the past six games, he’s averaging 15.3 ppg with 23 total 3-pointers.