PUYALLUP — Olympic had a 12-point lead and had all the momentum on its side, needing to hang on for just eight more minutes to earn a return trip to state.
But an 18-0 Fife fourth quarter run dashed Olympic’s hopes and ended its season in the regional round. Fife’s Bryson Williams hit three 3-pointers during that final run to help his team knock off Olympic, 51-45, in the loser out game.
The Trojans failed to hit a single field goal in the final quarter, going 0 for 10, while Fife’s sharpshooters finally heated up after being largely being kept quiet by the Olympic defense.
“We lost our minds a little bit in the fourth and that’s on me; 100 percent on me,” said Olympic head coach Jon O’Connor. “We’re up by 12 after three, a team goes on an 18-0 run and we don’t have a bucket from the floor in the fourth quarter, that’s on me.”
Olympic (13-12) broke out in the second quarter with 23 points to take a solid 31-23 lead into the halftime break. The Trojans were creating shots and getting good looks, and only their 10 first quarter turnovers held them back from taking an even larger lead.
Brandon Barron scored nine of his 15 points in the second, getting his usual quality drives to the rim while Caleb Morgan and Greg Brehmer each added five.
Meanwhile the defense was standing tall, holding a Fife team that was averaging 68 points per game to under 30 through three quarters.
“I thought our zone was really good again tonight until late in the fourth quarter, we had some lazy closeouts,” O’Connor said. “They hit a couple of massive threes and they were due to our slow rotation. Credit to them, they buried the shots.”
Morgan hit a huge 3-pointer to close the third quarter to give Olympic a 41-29 lead. Fife turned the ball over on its first possession in the fourth as Morgan stole a pass and threw a long outlet to Barron, who drew a flagrant foul on the layup. Barron hit both free throws and Olympic kept the ball.
But the game turned on the subsequent possession. Olympic missed a layup and Fife went down the court and opened up a shot for Williams, who hit his first 3-pointer of the fourth quarter, which touched off the fateful 18-0 run.
Barron finished 15 points while Morgan added 12 and Brehmer chipped in 11.
Despite the loss, Olympic was able to close the season on a positive note. After a 2-5 start, the Trojans roared back into postseason contention and ended up with the final district seed from the Olympic League. Olympic then crushed Foster, 81-54, lost to Franklin Pierce, beat Lindbergh and then stunned Port Angeles in its final district game, eliminating the league champions from the playoffs.
“There were a lot of ups and downs,” Barron said. “But I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be where we were.”
Fife 51, Olympic 45
Oly 8 23 10 4 — 45
Fife 12 11 6 22 — 51
Olympic (45) — Barron 15, Morgan 12, Brehmer 11, Nelson 5, Talarico 2.
Fife (51) — Afework 16, Williams 16, Ginnis 8, Steimle 6, Messiah 5.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.