Lady Templars win shootout
with ALA, then outlast Union
in defensive dogfight
By Matt Harris
MANTI—When a team shows off tremendous offensive ability and tremendous defensive ability, it’s always a good week. Even if it happens in separate games.
The Manti girls’ basketball team showcased a little bit of everything in a 2-0 week last week. On Tuesday, they scored with proficiency in a 68-54 win at home against American Leadership Academy, and they subsequently outlasted Union in a defensive dogfight, 35-28 last Thursday on Senior Night.
“I feel like our team is really coming together at the right time,” Coach Brennon Schweikart said. “Some games, you need to put up a lot of offense, which we can, and other games, it’s about the defense and stopping people in a battle…The ladies really stepped up. I am confident in our team moving forward.”
The Lady Templars overall record moved to 13-5, with an 11-1 record to put them presently in first place in Region 14 with only a rematch with second-place Delta remaining on the schedule; the Rabbits being Manti’s only region loss.
Against ALA, Manti was on top early in a dominant first half, going up by 21 at the half, 33-12. While par for the course would have been a rollover victory, the Lady Templars ended up needing to stave off attempts to rally as ALA outscored them in the third and fourth quarters, putting up 44 points.
Luckily enough, Manti had one thing that they hadn’t had going for them in a long stretch—a hot hand on Kassidy Alder.
Alder, who is searching for scholarship offers still, plans to attend Southern Utah University, according to Schweikart. Alder broke out for a game-high 18 points against the Eagles after she had failed to score more than six points in her last four games. She also broke a drought of hitting zero 3-pointers during that stretch by sinking one. Sophomore Heidi Jorgensen scored 16 points to back up Alder, while senior Katie Larsen added 12 more. The Lady Templars combined to hit four 3-pointers.
Against Union, the first quarter was a slow-going affair as neither team scored in the first minute and a half of the game. Manti put up first points on a baseline shot from senior Allie Bridges after a possession nearly a minute long. Manti scored on their next possession on a layup from senior Breana Barson.
Thanks to the Manti defense, Union did not get on the scoreboard until a tip shot found its way in with 3:39 remaining. At that point, the visiting Cougars started to match Manti basket for basket through the first half.
With under two minutes remaining, the Cougars caught up and tied the game 13-13, and with a minute remaining, Jorgensen stood alone on the perimeter and buried a big-time 3 to secure Manti’s halftime lead, 17-13.
Early in the third quarter, Alder set the crowd aflame as she rose up from deep behind the arc and buried a 3-pointer to put Manti up by nine. That was the highlight of a 7-1 run in the third that put Manti up 24-14 and broke away from the visitors.
Early in the fourth quarter, Alder had a genius moment on an inbounds play under the hoop. Seeing no open teammate, Alder tossed the pass at the back of a defender not looking and took the rebound to the hoop for the score. Union never got closer than seven points of the Templars as Manti took the win.
Jorgensen led all scorers for the third time this season as she put in 15 points.
Manti will be playing for a region title this coming Thursday when they face Delta. They will also be looking to win their 30th game in two seasons. “Can’t ask for a better way to end the regular season,” Schweikart said. “It’s a really great mark for this group and their dedication to build a winning atmosphere.”