Lady Templars season ends with killing by Morgan Trojans, 66-46
By Matt Harris
MORGAN—The Lady Templars’ season is over.
As the No. 9 seed, the Manti girls’ basketball team found themselves ambushed and overwhelmed by the No. 8 Morgan Trojans, and Manti’s season ended unceremoniously in a 66-46 loss that Coach Brennon Schweikart called their “worst defensive game of the season.”
It was the only time this season the Templars allowed more than 60 points in a game.
Morgan, who struggled to be consistent all season, Schweikart said, moved to 13-8 on the season with a four-game winning streak, and Schweikart fully believes the Lady Trojans are primed for a run if they turn it all on now.
“That was a tough game to swallow,” Schweikart said. “I felt like going into that game, we were playing some of our best basketball. Anytime you’re put in that kind of situation, and you don’t come through the way going in that you planned, it’s tough to swallow.”
The Templars weren’t even necessarily up against a tough defense either, but poor shooting plagued them at an unexpected level. “We didn’t score at the pace that we thought we would,” Schweikart said. “I thought we’d be up into the 60’s ourselves, just based on how we’d been practicing going in. With a new opponent who didn’t know us, our shooting percentage just didn’t match that.”
Sophomore Heidi Jorgensen led Manti with 15 points, while senior Breanna Barson had an impressive night with nine points. Senior Kassidy Alder had eight points in her final game after a four-year starting career with Manti.
On defense, the Lady Trojans just couldn’t be stopped. Morgan made seven 3-pointers, the most allowed in any game this season.
Morgan’s first possession of the game resulted in points on an offensive rebound that was tipped in by their 6’2” freshman, the tallest player on either team. That sparked a 10-0 run to start the game before Schweikart called a timeout following back-to-back 3-pointers by the Trojans.
Alder stopped the early cold streak by nailing a baseline 3-pointer to get Manti on the board, and the Trojans immediately answered back with a driving assist right under the basket for two.
With a 14-6 lead, Morgan nailed another 3-pointer for a double-digit lead, making three made 3’s in the first quarter alone. Morgan ended the quarter with a 21-10 lead after an easy layup by Morgan on an inbounds pass. It was only the fourth time in two years that the Lady Templars allowed 20 plus points in a single quarter in the last two seasons, and the first in that time that it happened in the first quarter.
Morgan continued to barrage the Lady Templars with 3-pointers in the second quarter and got out to a 16-point lead early in the quarter before both teams went cold for several minutes.
Manti finally got going midway through the quarter with a 6-0 run sparked by a 3-pointer from Jorgensen, but with the last two minutes of the half, Morgan struck right back, and the halftime score was 35-19 in favor of the home team, the most first-half points allowed since the 2018-19 season.
Morgan kept hitting shots at will as they went on a 6-1 run early in the second half, giving them a 20-point lead for the first time in the game. Morgan led by as much as 27 in the second half before Manti started making several free throws to make it respectable.
Alder scored the Lady Templars’ final points with a beautiful sendoff, taking the ball up the court herself and burying an NBA-range 3-pointer in the last minute of the fourth quarter. Alder finished her career with 534 points.
Schweikart credited the outgoing senior as the leader of a group of sophomores that built up the winning culture of a Manti program not so far removed from its days as a struggling, inconsequential 2A squad. “[Alder] is very difficult to replace,” Schweikart said, “but she’s also built up a legacy of how we do things. She’s going to be playing for a college, where yet, I don’t know.”
Schweikart reported receiving multiple calls from college coaches interested in recruiting Alder.
Manti finishes this season 13-8 overall and graduates six seniors, including four starters.