MT. PLEASANT – In a game that had absolutely everything, the North Sanpete Hawks had just a little bit more.
It was a night of scoring runs, rallies, big games, NBA-range 3-pointers, and lots and lots of fans, and the North Sanpete boys’ basketball team moved to 14-3 on the season with a thrilling 65-62 win over rival Manti on Wednesday, Feb. 2.
“No question, the environment that night fed the game,” North Sanpete coach Bill Pollock said. “It was something pretty special. You couldn’t hear a thing. I couldn’t hear my [players], they couldn’t hear me. It was amazing.”
Having not beat Manti since 2015, the Hawks’ win completed a regular season sweep against the Templars. It’s the first time North Sanpete has done so since the 2010-11 season, a tremendous accomplishment for Pollock, who is in his first year as North Sanpete head coach.
With the win, North Sanpete continues to lead the race for the Region 14 title at 5-1, a half-game ahead of the Templars, after they capped off the week with a second win, getting some payback against Union, 51-36, on Friday, Feb. 4.
Not an empty spot on the bleachers could be found in the Hawks’ gym, and both teams showcased a game that was well worth the evening out. Players were taking long-range shots right in the faces of their defenders and making them. The Hawks and Templars combined for 18 made 3-pointers, three more than the amount of combined free throws attempted.
Not made. Attempted.
The quiet whistles of the referees were somewhat uncommon with the significance of a rivalry contest. Pollock, whose team only attempted three foul shots the entire game, called it one of the best officiated games he’d ever coached in.
Despite there being no shortage of entertainment in 32 minutes of action, North Sanpete senior Landon Bowles still managed to steal the show, nailing five 3-pointers as he exploded for his first-ever double-double of 32 points and 12 rebounds, a career-high in both categories.
Bowles has gone titanic against opposing defenses since the beginning of the new year, averaging 22.9 points per game since Jan. 5. His recent production vaulted him into third place in the 3A scoring leaders, according to stats provided by Deseret News.
“He can do most things,” Manti coach Devin Shakespear said. “He can post up, he’s got a good midrange game, he obviously shot the 3 very well against us. He’s a really good player, and he’s really hard to defend.”
Junior Ty Allan backed up Bowles with 13 points, hitting all four of his 3-pointers. Allan entered the game with only two made 3-pointers on the season. Senior Andy Mower also scored 11 points, only his fourth double-figure scoring game of his career.
For Manti, a mixture of game-planning and situational management provided an atypical result as only five Templars scored a point in the game. Junior Dylan Anderson led the Templars in scoring with 18 points, courtesy of a blistering six made 3-pointers. It was Anderson’s second-ever double-figure game. It was the first time he had led the team in scoring.
Juniors Larsen Pogroszewski and Christian Hansen each scored 12 points, while sophomore Reggie Frischknecht added 11.
Manti drew first blood in the contest with a 7-0 run to open the first quarter. However, North Sanpete owned the rest of the stanza as it outscored the Templars, 17-2, over the remainder of the period.
It quickly became a game of runs, as Manti fought their way back and even led briefly when Anderson sank a go-ahead 3 for a 28-27 lead late in the quarter, but Allan countered back, burying a 3-pointer several feet behind the line to retake the lead.
North Sanpete used a 10-0 run to close out the third period. North Sanpete still led by double digits late in the fourth quarter, but several made free throws by Manti got the Templars back into it. Nevertheless, on Manti’s last true shot at tying the game down by 3 with less than a minute, the Templars’ shooting ran cold, missing three 3-point attempts in the same possession.
Later that week, North Sanpete triumphed over Union at home. Bowles led the team again in scoring with 23 points.
Manti moved to 12-8 on the season with a 5-2 region record after they rebounded from the loss with a 67-55 win over Juab on Friday, Feb. 4. Hansen led the team in scoring in that game with 20 points, while Frsichknecht had 18 and Pogroszewski had 13.
North Sanpete will close out the regular season with games against Juab and Delta.
Manti will close out the regular season with games against Carbon and Union.