Olympia’s Kai Johnson, Jackson Grant break down win over Rogers
Olympia High School has found its groove against league opponents so far this season. And, Tuesday night in Puyallup, the Bears (9-3) remained perfect in 4A SPSL play with a 64-51 win over Rogers.
“It was a big win. We knew they were going to come out and get (after) us because we’re on the top,” Olympia junior Kai Johnson said. “It was an important win, and the coaches knew we had to come out aggressive, and that’s what we did.”
Sophomore Jackson Grant led the Bears with 16 points, while Johnson added 14 and junior Ethan Gahm had 13.
Olympia has topped seven of the eight other teams in the 4A SPSL this season, including Rogers (9-4) twice. The Bears have yet to play Puyallup (10-2).
A quick start in November in December lifted the Bears to the top of the league standings, and they continue to produce at a high level.
Tuesday, Olympia’s players maintained focus and composure after senior Andrew Lindsay, who has offered a consistent presence in the paint the past two seasons, left the game with a head injury.
The Bears carried a slim six-point lead into the fourth quarter, and Rogers trimmed it as close as 44-43 with five minutes to play.
“When our big guy (Lindsay) went down, we just wanted to win the game for him. We just had him in the back of our minds the whole time,” Grant said.
That’s when both Grant and Thompson started connecting on buckets, helping the Bears pull away again late.
“After our timeout when (Lindsay) got injured, we kind of huddled up and we hyped,” Thompson said. “We were going to win this for him.”
Rogers entered the game looking to get back on track, but dropped their third consecutive league contest despite a game-high 18 points from junior Jace Barrett, and another 14 points from Matti Turco.
The Rams have lost to South Kitsap, Curtis and Olympia — all by double digits — in the past week to drop into fourth place in the 4A SPSL.
Olympia has two matchups with third-place Puyallup, and a rematch with second-place Curtis (10-3) looming in the next three weeks, and is in position to strip Curtis of a league title for the first time in five years.
“That’s all we’ve been focusing on. We know we had a good start, but we’re not focused on our start. We’re focusing on our finishing,” Grant said.
“Our start’s not going to matter at all if we don’t finish through and win the league championship. It’s going to be big for our school.”
O – Ethan Gahm 13, Dylan Sawyer 6, Kai Johnson 14, Jackson Grant 16, Drew Thompson 9, Andrew Lindsay 6.
R – Joseph Dwyer 7, Matti Turco 14, Aidan Fernando 6, Jace Barrett 18, Joey Ancheta 4, Josiah Drain 2.