Olympus for many years has predicated itself on the ability to score in transition and pop 3-pointers like a Pez-dispenser. The Titans typically play like a Don Nelson or Mike D’Antoni coached team.
Not this year.
Oly head coach Matt Barnes realized the strength of his team was located deep within the interior with post players Will Cannon and Parker Rawlings.
That was evident in the Titans, 59-55, 4A semifinal win over East at the Maverik Center Wednesday.
“Our two big guys carried the load for the most part,” Barnes said.
Cannon finished with a team-high 19 points, with the majority coming in the second half as the Titans climbed out of an 11-point deficit. The 6-foot-6 combo power forward connected on 13-of-17 free throw attempts and added six boards, three assists and four steals.
“As Will goes, Olympus goes,” Barnes said.
However, no one was more instrumental to Olympus claiming a date against Provo in the semifinals Friday than Rawlings.
With 4:53 remaining in regulation and trailing the Leopards 50-49, Rawlings stepped up and splashed a wetball to give the Titans the 52-50 lead for good.
“He’s been a steady player for us all year. Parker has done a great job of being the second guy (behind Cannon),” Barnes said. “He hit some big shots for us that ignited our rally. I think he played a pretty dang good game for us.”
Rawlings, a 6-foot-7 center that plays like a swingman, chipped in 16 points and seven boards along with three blocks in 26 minutes.
The Titans backcourt combined for 24 points on 10-of-25 shooting and 10 turnovers.
Needless to say, if Olympus is to advance to the 4A state championship, it’s on the shoulders of its big men.