The Olympia boys basketball team has had a strong showing in January anchored by its sophomores.
The Olympia boys basketball team did something Jan. 19 that it had not done in six years, 10 months and 24 days.
It beat Dr. Phillips.
The two teams play one another at least once a year, but the Panthers have gotten the better of the Titans in the rivalry dating back to the 2008-09 season, when Olympia defeated Dr. Phillips 57-53 on Feb. 4, 2009, in the regional playoffs. That was the same year the Titans advanced all the way to the state final and finished as state runner-up.
It’s not just what the Titans did, though — outscoring the Panthers 48-30 in the second half after trailing 39-33 at halftime. It’s also how they did it.
Olympia’s talented sophomore class led the way, with dynamic guard Ronaldo Segu tallying a game-high 27 points to pair with forward DeJuan Lockett’s 24 points. Two other Titan sophomores scored in double figures, with Mykarri Hodges accumulating 13 points and Ajay Green ending the night with 11 points.
That stat line isn’t terribly surprising if you’re familiar with Olympia’s squad.
On the season, Segu leads the way for the Titans with 14.3 points per game to pair with 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals. He’s also shooting 38% from beyond the arc. Lockett is nearly averaging a double-double at 12.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Green rebounds well, with 5.1 boards per contest, but also can step out and shoot. He’s at 40% this season from the 3-point line. Finally, there’s Hodges, who averages a stat-sheet-stuffing 7.2 points, 2.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game on the year.
They balance each other well, too, nearly filling out a starting lineup. Hodges and Segu handle the guard duties, Green plays an athletic small forward role, and Lockett is a force in the paint.
Segu, who has offers from Florida State University and the University of Central Florida, gets much of the attention for his ability to score seemingly at will, but it’s the totality of the four underclassmen that has led to Olympia’s 5-1 start to the month of January. Because of that strong start to the new year, the Titans have traded in a sub-.500 record for a mark of 11-11 as of Jan. 25.
Olympia will face Dr. Phillips in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 game of the district tournament at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3, with a postseason berth on the line. The game will take place on the Panthers’ home court. It should be a great (if not a bit frenzied) atmosphere.
I don’t know what Olympia’s ceiling is this season — whether they’ll upset Dr. Phillips again and advance to the regional playoffs or not. What I do know is this: If the Titans can continue to improve — and, most importantly, mature while learning how to win — Wheeler may have one of the state’s best rosters at his disposal for the two seasons to come.