Lady Templars rally past Delta
to move on in state
By Matt Harris
PRICE—Vengeance achieved. On to Taylorsville.
The Manti girls’ basketball team rallied furiously past region rival Delta, 35-31, to pick up a victory in the second round of the 3A state tournament. It was Manti’s first playoff win since 2015.
The Lady Templars, functioning with the team motto of “Rise Up,” have been arguably the biggest surprise in 3A basketball this year.
“I saw the potential with all of them right away,” Coach Brennon Schweikart said. “I told them as much going in that I expected us to be playing at state and competing as one of the best at state. These ladies believe, and what they have done on the court has translated from their confidence and belief in what they are doing.”
Manti came into the second-round matchup with the Lady Rabbits after a first-round bye and looking to avenge their only region loss just the week before the tournament.
Despite Manti scoring on their first possession, the tale of the first half was Delta’s absolute shutdown of the Lady Templars’ offense. Manti got on top of the Lady Rabbits early, going up 7-2 after four minutes, but Delta got an impressive fadeaway from their star player that opened up their offense.
In the second quarter, Delta clamped down, and Manti went the entire quarter without a field goal, only scoring a single point from the free-throw line. As a parting gift in the first half, Delta buried a walk-off 3-pointer in the final seconds before halftime to push their lead to 16-8.
After halftime, the script was completely flipped, starting with a step back jumper in the first 10 seconds of the second half by junior Kassidy Alder. Alder again struck a few minutes later, jumping in front of a pass and taking it all the downcourt for a layup to put the Lady Templars within three.
Alder subsequently buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 17 for a 9-1 Manti run. Then junior Katie Larsen got an inbounds lob and fired it under the hoop to a cutting Brook Barson to reclaim the lead.
The attitude change was evident through the entire quarter as Alder led the charge by Manti to get out to a 5-point lead before Delta came back.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Rabbits regained the lead with under three minutes remaining, and sophomore Sharlie Alder retook the lead for Manti with a 3-point play after being fouled on a layup, a lead the Templars did not give up again.
“It was an awesome team win,” Schweikart said. “Our ladies stepped up in a big way, and it was a blast to watch them perform. That second half was Manti basketball, and what we have built this program on. It was a lot of fun.”
Kassidy Alder led all scorers with 12 points.
The Lady Templars reward for making the quarterfinals is a date with No. 1 South Sevier this afternoon at Salt Lake Community College at 5:50 p.m. Manti is not stranger to the Lady Rams.
Manti nearly beat South Sevier early in the season, a 59-46 overtime loss in the Central Utah Basketball Preview.
“The key is simple,” Schweikart said. “Play Manti basketball for four quarters and play with confidence. We took them to overtime last go-around. I believe this time we can get the W.”