Lady Templars notch overtime win 51-48
MANTI—All year long, the Manti Lady Templars have played hard through diversity without reaping the benefits of winning games. Last week that tenacity paid off as the Templars won two Region 15 games and earned the possibility of advancing to post-season play.
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, Manti hosted Grand County and battled to tie it up at the end of regulation and go on to win 51-48 in overtime. Thursday, Feb. 2 saw the Gunnison Lady Bulldogs come to town. Manti won that game (see related story) 47-40.
Against Grand, the Templars trailed by five at the half and by three going into the fourth quarter. Hard-nosed defense by Keslee Cox, Ashton Wood and Kallie Young forced six fourth-quarter turnovers by the Red Devils, allowing Manti to close the gap.
With 1:27 left to play, Manti took a one-point lead on an Amie Squire put-back bucket 42-41. Grand responded by hitting four free throws in a row to regain the lead at 45-42 with 12 seconds left to play.
Manti went to Auri Squire, who hit four of six three-point attempts in the game, for the tying shot from the left corner. Squire was fouled on the shot and went to the line to shoot three. Manti has struggled all year from the charity stripe, but Squire has ice water in her veins as she swished all three shots to tie the game and force overtime.
The extra minutes started out ragged as Keslee Cox got a steal on the first possession by Grand. Unfortunately, the Templars turned it right back over. The Templars settled down, and Auri Squire hit her fourth three of the game. An offensive rebound and put-back by Leah Howe, followed by a free throw, gave Manti the three-point win.
The Templars showed good offensive patience, working the ball into the post where Howe accounted for a team-high 17 points. She was one rebound away from a double-double with nine boards. She also had three assists. Auri Squire finished the game with 14 points and two assists. Amie Squire had six points and three assists. Cox had four points, seven rebounds and seven steals. Wood scored two points, had four assists and three steals. Young had two points and two steals. Cassidie Larsen, Kjerstin Birch and Tyra Hermansen all hit a free throw. Birch also had five boards.
The victory over Grand, along with the win over Gunnison, places the Templars in a position to advance to post season play.
“We had a good week,” said coach Roger Watson. “Now we need one more (win).”