Lady Templars fight hard, but lose big against San Juan, lose close match against Grand
By Matt Harris
MANTI—The Lady Templars struggled mightily last week and extended their region losing streak to seven games.
The Manti girls’ basketball team surrendered to Richfield, 58-27; they fell under the San Juan steamroller in a 77-36 loss; and nearly completed a comeback against last-place Grand County, 50-48, but lost that game as well.
“Every season has its up and downs,” Head Coach Brennon Schweikart said. “Our biggest issue is that we do not put together a full game. We will have lapses that you can’t have, especially in region play.”
Although the Lady Templars never had much of a chance against San Juan, a pleasant silver lining came for Manti as sophomore Taylor Chidester led the team with 12 points, including three 3-pointers, the first double-digit game of Chidester’s career in a Templar uniform.
“Although our wins and losses don’t show it,” Schweikart said, “our team is improving, and we are heading in the right direction as a program. We are the youngest team in our region by a lot, so it is great experience that our girls are getting. Sometimes you learn more by losing than you do by winning.”
When the Lady Templars went to pay Grand County a visit, it came as a bit of a shock to see the Lady Devils play better than usual as they shelled Manti for the entire first half and led by 16 points at halftime. Grand also benefitted from a favorable whistle, earning 32 free throw attempts for the game.
Manti mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, outscoring Grand 24-7 and made it a one-point game, 49-48 in the final minutes. The Templars had a chance to even score or take a lead with free throws in the final minute, but the buckets wouldn’t fall. Grand pushed the lead to two points within seconds of the final buzzer, and when Manti’s 3-point prayer hit the side of the backboard, their fate was sealed.
“We didn’t come to play in the first half and the score showed that,” Schweikart said. “We dug ourselves a very large hole. By the time we started to play Manti basketball where we forced turnovers and started hitting our shots, we were down 18 going into the fourth quarter. It was a great opportunity for our team to comeback and [they] showed a lot of fight.”
The Lady Templars face undefeated Emery on Jan. 29 and take on South Sevier at home Feb. 5.