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High school boys basketball: Highland sneaks past Olympus in overtime thriller

In a dramatic and tightly contested back-and-forth affair, Highland was able to get the best of powerhouse Olympus, with Grayson Gaddis hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in overtime to give Highland the 69-68 victory in a game many Rams players and fans likely soon won’t forget.

“Olympus is what you strive to be and we’re getting there. Their players are terrific and they have a terrific program. I have to give a ton of credit to them and credit to our players as well. Our players made shot after shot and overcame adversity,” said Highland head coach Chris Jones, who was somewhat emotional after the victory.

The first quarter belonged to Olympus, which took advantage of some unfortunate Highland turnovers and secured an 18-12 lead after the opening frame.

Highland eventually found its groove and eased into the game. The Rams tightened things up on the defensive end and held Olympus to just eight points in the second quarter to find themselves on the right side of the scoreboard heading into the halftime break, holding on to a slim 29-26 lead.

But in the third quarter, it looked like Olympus was starting to pull away when Jordan Barnes nailed a 3-pointer from beyond the arc, giving the Titans their biggest lead of the night at 45-37, and they ended up outscoring Highland by nine in the third.

Some timely defense and clutch shooting kept Highland in the game, though, and the Rams somehow found themselves down by just two with two seconds left in regulation.

That’s when standout sophomore Isaiah Drisdom calmly converted on a driving layup for Highland, tying the game up at 55 and sending it into overtime.

“We put the ball in our good players’ hands and they made plays,” Jones said. “We live and die by Isaiah making plays and he made a ton of great plays. He is only a sophomore and he is growing up and learning how to make great plays.”

In overtime, both offenses couldn’t miss and traded buckets throughout the majority of the extra period.

But with 30 seconds left in the extra period and Highland down by two, Gaddis drained the three to give his team the lead.

Olympus had one last chance to win it, but a layup by Gavin Lowe was denied, sending the home crowd into a frenzy as Highland came away with the win.

Going into the game, Highland knew they had a tall task ahead of them and managed to go to toe-to-toe with an elite program.

“It’s all about the players. They were unbelievable, resilient, and tough. Olympus is one of the classiest programs out there. To be able to have the opportunity to compete and to play with them, I mean they’re the top,” said Jones.

Drisdom carried Highland with a stellar 25-point performance, and Sefa Brown had himself a solid night as well with 16 points.

In the losing effort, Barnes managed 16 points, while Will Blanck and Dutch DowDell contributed 14 points apiece.

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