Both teams show grit, but Manti
Templars pulls out win, 62-52
By James Tilson
Jan. 25, 2018
MT. PLEASANT—The boys basketball teams of Manti High School and North Sanpete High School faced off last week on Friday, Jan. 19, with the Templars of Manti prevailing by 10.
The Templars had come off a 63-38 loss to South Sevier on Wednesday, Jan. 17, and the Hawks had beaten the Richfield Wildcats 57-47 the same night.
In yet another exciting chapter of the Templar-Hawk cross-county rivalry, the game in Mt. Pleasant was contested from the tip-off to the final buzzer, with not an inch given by either side.
Early turnovers provided much of the scoring in the first quarter.
As the game wore on, no advantage could be gained.
However, Travis Thompson came off the bench for the Templars and provided a spark.
Near the end of the first half, Thompson drove to the basket to make and convert two “and one” opportunities, while Kade Nichols sank two free throws to give Manti a 29-25 lead.
Coming out of the locker room, the Hawks jumped out to a six-point lead as Spencer Steadman made back-to-back lay-ups.
But the Templars were able to close the gap by the end of the third quarter to two points, behind 43-41.
The two teams traded buckets halfway through the fourth quarter with the score tied at 45.
At that point, Manti slowly began to pull away.
With the Templars leading 51-45 with 1:25 left, the Hawks began fouling to slow down the clock and try to get back in the game.
However, the Templars were able to make their free throws, and the Hawks could not convert on their end.
Although the final score was 62-52, the game was close enough that the outcome was unsure until the final minutes.
Manti’s coach, Devin Shakespear, agreed that Thompson played a key role in the Templars’ victory: “Travis stepped up and had a very efficient game for us. He went 4-5 from the field and 6-6 from the free-throw line with no turnovers.”
The Templars were led by Matt Nelson with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The Hawks’ Spencer Steadman led all scorers with 23 points, Shawn Taylor had seven assists and Brock Bailey had six rebounds.
After the game, the Templars stand 4-2 in Region 15, tied for first place with Grand County and South Sevier, while the Hawks have a 3-3 record in Region 15, one game behind Manti and in second place.
South Sevier, previously in first place by itself, lost Friday night to Richfield, 59-52.
According to Shakespear, “Our region is a gauntlet this year. The team in last has the potential to beat the team in first each night so you have to be up and prepared for each game.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, the Manti Templars traveled to South Sevier and fell 63-38 to the first-place Rams.
The Templars played hard through the first half, although they struggled to find an offensive flow. At the half, the Templars were behind by one, 19-18.
But the Rams blew open the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Templars 24-8.
Shakespear said the Templar defense lapsed in the third quarter: “We got out of position early in the third quarter, and they hit uncontested threes.”
In the final quarter, Manti fell behind eight more points.
Brody Barson had 10 points for the Templars.
Manti travels to San Juan High School tomorrow night and to Grand County on Saturday afternoon.
Grinding out a tough Region 15 win, the Hawks of North Sanpete High prevailed over the Richfield Wildcats 57-47 on Wednesday, Jan. 17, in Mt. Pleasant.
North Sanpete’s coach, Cris Hoopes, employed a zone defense to start the game, in part to defend against the Wildcats’ height advantage but in part because “that’s who we are.”
The zone defense led to turnovers and quick buckets for the Hawks, which translated into a nine-point halftime lead.
Hoopes said, “It paid off for us today. They made a lot of turnovers in the beginning.”
But the Wildcats adjusted at halftime, and scored seven unanswered points to start the second half.
Hoopes called a time-out and got the Hawks to up their defensive pressure and hang on to their lead.
He observed, “They came out with more intensity. I was kind of disappointed in our kids. We try to win the first three minutes of each half, but their kids came out and played intense. We were lucky to be ahead as much as we were to be able to eventually right the ship and get the result.”
By the fourth quarter, the Hawks had tightened the screws on defense and squelched the Richfield rally.
The Hawks ended with a 10-point victory, 57-47.
Steadman led the Hawks with 20 points, and Joseph Garlick chipped in another 17.
North Sanpete played South Sevier at home yesterday (score unavailable) and then travels to Grand County tomorrow and San Juan on Saturday.