4A boys' basketball: Olympus locks down on defense to beat Woods Cross (with video)

Boys' basketball • Woods Cross misses 8 treys in second half.
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Ogden • There might have been a few first-round jitters, but Olympus settled in quickly and did what it had time and again this season — play defense and share the ball.

The Titans made nearly every Woods Cross possession a grind and had five players each score nine points as they held off Woods Cross 50-43 to advance in the Class 4A boys' state tournament Tuesday night at the Dee Events Center.

"It's a little nerve-wracking at the start, but once you get going … it's great," Olympus guard Connor Haller said. "[Woods Cross] just played tough, physical, pressure defense the whole game. And we've been known for our defense the whole year."

Haller scored seven of his nine points in the first half, when points were at a premium. Olympus managed just five points in the second quarter, partly because, in coach Matt Barnes' view, the Titans played tentatively on offense.

"We shot one field goal [in the half]," Barnes said. "We were very timid and passive. I said we have to be more aggressive. We have to get inside."

The Region 7 champion Titans (17-5) went to the line 20 times in the second half.

Luke Jowers scored 11 points and Skylar Farnes added 10 for Woods Cross (13-9), which made just 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the second half.

A buzzer-beating, banked-in 3-pointer by Olympus' Jaren Jones gave the Titans some separation at 31-23 entering the fourth quarter.

"That was huge," Haller said. "It was a huge lift. Got the lead up, gave us some confidence."

Jones scored seven of his nine points in the second half. Coulson Hardy, Jake Lindsey and Alec Monson also scored nine points apiece.

Olympus may have had a slight advantage in the pregame scouting department. Assistant coach Todd Street was Woods Cross' coach for nearly a decade before this season.

"He knows those kids very well," Barnes said. "He gave us a lot of good insights. … Our defense has been tremendous this year. That's what kept us in the game." —

Storylines Titans 50, Wildcats 43

O Five Olympus players score nine points in the win.