By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Kevin McInnis
Editor’s Note – The TOSH Top 30 is our countdown of the top 30 stories from the 2015-16 school sports year, beginning with No. 30 and counting down, one story a day, to No. 1. The 2015-2016 high school sports year was filled with big performances, both team and individual. The act of narrowing down our initial list of top stories for our TOSH Top 30 stories of the year to just 30 was a difficult task. We asked people all over the state for input into our final list and beginning June 22, we are counting them down in reverse, from story No. 30 to story No. 1. Hopefully your favorite story of the past school year made our list.
Story No. 6 in our TOSH Top 30 stories of the year incorporates the number six in a way. The Olympus High boys basketball team had six second-place finishes in school history when it took the court in the 2016 state title game but the Titans finally got their first championship this time out and that is our story No. 6 of the year.
#6 – Olympus basketball breaks through
Six times, in 1960, 1977, 1978, 1994, 2001 and 2012, the Olympus High boys basketball team reached the doorstep on the path to a state championship. Each time, the Titans were unable to scale the final step and settled for second place.
In 2016, Olympus was back knocking on that door for a seventh time and when the Titans got off to a fast start, it looked like the monkey would finally be coming off their backs. Then, the second quarter came, part of a nine-minute stretch during which Timpview outscored Olympus 20-2. At halftime, the Titans faced a 28-19 deficit.
The adversity seemed like an invitation to head coach Matt Barnes and his Olympus team and they made all the right halftime adjustments. The Titans were 16 points better than the Thunderbirds in the second half and delivered a come-from-behind performance to a 51-44 win that turned loose the Olympus faithful for a long-awaited celebration on the Huntsman Center floor.
Barnes, an Olympus alum, has been on the team’s bench for 19 years so it was a long wait and a ton of work to finally hoist the big trophy. After seeing his team fall apart offensively during that second stanza, he found a way to steady things and the Titans scored on six of seven possessions to open the third period.
The effort was led by tournament MVP Isaac Monson, who pulled down 15 rebounds in the title game and in the process set a school record for career boards. The award could just as easily have gone to Matt Lindsey, who went off with a huge scoring night in the semifinal and had a couple of big buckets in the championship game.
Lindsey’s biggest contribution came on the defensive end, where he took on the challenge of Timpview superstar Gavin Baxter. Monson, meanwhile, dealt with the physical power game of AJ Bollinger in the post and more than held his own at the defensive end as well.
Miles Keller, who was also huge throughout the state tournament, led the team in scoring with 16 points in the finale. The scoring distribution among a number of players defined who this Olympus team was all year long.
Monson led the team in scoring all year long with more than 14 points per game to go with more than 10 rebounds per contest. Lindsey averaged nearly 13 a night, while Keller scored nearly 11 per game, but for the Titans it was also guys like Travis Wagstaff, Adam Larson, Ryan Bell, Jeremy Dowdell and Nate Fox that made it possible to finally hang a championship banner.
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