Saturday in Chapel Hill, Olympic High’s boys basketball team may play the biggest game any Trojans team – in any sport – has ever played.
Ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation, the Trojans (29-0) will try to complete an unbeaten season when they face Raleigh Broughton at 7:30 p.m. at the Dean Smith Center.
It will be Olympic’s first try at a state basketball championship, and the Trojans will try to win the school’s first team sports championship of any kind in 25 years.
“This is very special for the school, for the Steele Creek community, to be playing in a game like this,” Olympic athletics director Ken Konstanty said. “It would be extra special if we’re fortunate enough to be able to come home with a win Saturday night. It would rank right up there at the top I would think. I’ve only been there for 14 or so years, but I would think that it might be the biggest win ever.”
In 47 years, Olympic has won one team championship.
The slow-pitch softball team beat Wilmington Hoggard 2-1 in a best-of-three playoff series in 1988 under coach Bill Curry. Teams play fast-pitch softball now.
Olympic has had a few individual sports champions too.
In 2008, Kenyatta Iyerbele won the N.C. 3A cross-country girls title.
During the 1970-71 school year, Olympic 126-pounder John Starkey was named most outstanding wrestler at the state championships. Woody Moss also won the N.C. 4A cross-country championship and the Trojans football team, led by future three-time Georgia Tech All-American Randy Rhino, lost 14-0 to Broughton in the state championship game.
Unfortunately, at Olympic, the school’s athletic history is not filled with many years like 1970-71. It’s littered with long losing seasons in football and basketball.
According to N.C. High School Athletic Association records, the baseball team has won eight playoff games since 1980. The football team has won seven playoff games in 43 years. In 70 combined seasons, Olympic’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams have won 11 playoff games.
After reaching the Western basketball regionals for three straight years, and losing in the first game each time, Olympic finally broke through this year. It won two regional games and has advanced to the state finals.
But coach Ty Baumgardner said his team is treating this week just like all the ones that came before it.
“We haven’t changed a thing,” he said. “It’s been business as usual. You have former players and colleagues calling a lot. That’s normal and expected, I guess, for any head coach or team playing in the state final. So there’s some excitement, sure, the kids at school are talking about it, but other than that, it’s the same ol’, same ol’, which is good. That’s the way I want it to be.”
Baumgardner has built Olympic into a state power. The Trojans have won 85 of 89 games and have a 36-game home win streak. Olympic has not lost a true road game in the past two years with all four losses coming at neutral sites.
Olympic has also won 59 straight conference games.
“It’s an exciting time,” Konstanty said. “It’s just so big for us to be in the position we’re in. We’re getting buses organized and selling tickets so everybody can get up there and enjoy the game. More students are stating that they are going to watch the game than last week (at the regionals) and we had an unbelievable turnout at regionals. ... It’s just a fun time. We’re trying to enjoy it as much as possible.”