Todd Street, the former head basketball coach but still a current teacher at Woods Cross, was sitting next to Olympus coach Matt Barnes as part of the coaching staff.
The familiarity may have done in the Wildcats, who suffered a 50-43 loss to the Titans Tuesday night in a game that featured two solid defenses.
“When you have coach Street on your side, who has coached (Woods Cross) for the last nine or ten years, you know what your opponent is going to do,” said Barnes. “The kids were tremendous with that advice. They were focused and played great defensively.”
The game was a defensive battle through the first three quarters, with neither team cracking 20 points before the end of the first half. Leading 19-17, the Wildcats were slowed by a solid defense from Olympus and were held to four points in the third quarter, all while Olympus built an eight point lead heading into the final quarter of play.
“The first half was a grind,” said Barnes. “A low scoring game on both ends and I thought we were timid at times by trying not to force shots. But our strongest thing as a team is the defense and it’s helped us a lot this year.”
Luke Jowers and Hayden Grant were key players early on, taking part in an 8-2 run that ended with the Wildcats taking the halftime lead.
At only 19 points scored, Jowers accounted for nine first half points and finished with 11 points in the game. Skyler Farnes, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, only scored two points in the first half as the Titans held him and most of the remainder of the team in check.
The final quarter for both Woods Cross and Olympus was a high-scoring one as the two teams combined to score 39 points. Woods Cross scored 20 points, almost as many as it scored in the first three quarters, as Farnes, Brady Cowley and Filipo Mokofisi attempted a late charge and eventually pulled to within six points of the lead.
However, foul trouble by the Wildcats had Olympus shooting a lot of free-throw attempts in the closing minutes. Olympus converted on 10 of its 14 free-throw attempts, closing out the game and the win for Olympus.
Jowers scored 11 points and had two rebounds, and Farnes scored 10 points and had seven rebounds. Mokofisi scored eight points with eight rebounds in the loss. Olympus had five players score nine points each, and didn’t have a single player score in double digits. The Titans will play Sky View, which beat Timpview 78-58 in the closing 4A playoff game, Thursday.