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Sports

State of perfection
Olympic High ran to 4A title by blending balance, drive
 
Published Thursday, March 21, 2013 8:03 am
by Herbert L. White

Olympic High basketball coach Ty Baumgardner still hasn’t figured how what it’s like to be a state champion.

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PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
Olympic High players celebrate their N.C. 4A basketball championship on March 16 in Chapel Hill. The Trojans capped a 30-0 campaign with a 56-53 win against Raleigh Broughton in the title game.


Three days after the Trojans won the N.C. 4A title with a 56-53 win against Raleigh Broughton in Chapel Hill, Baumgardner is coming to grips with the accomplishment and becoming the first Mecklenburg County team to finish a season unbeaten since West Charlotte in 1986.


“It sure is a different feeling,” he said. “I don’t think it’s completely sunk in yet, but it’s going to be a real enjoyable spring and summer.”


Olympic (30-0) fashioned a perfect season by focusing on the present. Although the Trojans fielded more talented squads in the previous three seasons, they stumbled in the playoffs. This time around, Olympic paid attention to the immediate objective instead of past failures.


“They didn’t feel any of that pressure – ever,” Baumgardner said. “They were just so loose and…together and came to work every day to get better. They worried about the here and now, not what happened in the past or what lies in the future. It was a dream team and a dream season.”


Olympic got on a roll early and never wavered, using balanced scoring and clutch defense to earn the championship. While West Charlotte garnered most of the attention as a title contender with North Carolina signee Kennedy Meeks at center, Olympic kept grinding out wins and confidence in its capabilities.


“Going into the state playoffs, we had six guys averaging double figures and that’s almost unheard of,” Baumgardner said. “When you have that kind of balance and ability to show and share the basketball, teams like that are a heck of a lot more difficult to beat than the teams with one or two guys doing most of the damage.”


Every championship season ends with the inevitable question about repeating the following year. Olympic loses four of five starters and sixth-man B.J. Gladden, a 6-5 wing who is one of the state’s most versatile players, but the Trojans aren’t devoid of talent.


“We’re going to lose a lot,” Baumgardner said. “Of our top six guys, we lose five. It’s an excellent challenge. We’re excited about some of our young kids and the minutes they did this year we saw some really positive things. With every new year and new team there are new challenges, so we’re looking forward to those challenges when next year arrives.”

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