Manti on top over North Sanpete rivals in crucial 73-64 win for the Templars
By Matt Harris
MANTI—Manti boys’ basketball finally got back on track last week with two statement wins over rival teams old and new.
The Templars pulled off a dominating win, 66-49, against South Sevier in a rematch of last year’s 3A title game. They followed up the victory with a rivalry win over North Sanpete, 73-64, to post their fourth consecutive win over the Hawks. The week of winning pulled the Templars up to an even 3-3 record in Region 15, after a tough start.
“I know the [North Sanpete] game carries extra meaning for the community and school and sometimes that carries into the players,” Head Coach Devin Shakespear said. “For me it is a crucial home game no matter the opponent at this point, although I really enjoy rivalry games, because it is a lot of fun to play when the gym is packed and loud.”
Against South Sevier, Manti outscored the Rams in every quarter as seniors led the way for the Templars. Mason Thompson, Adam Huff, Travis Thomson and Dallin Cox each scored in double figures with 14, 12, 11, and 11 points, respectively.
The Templars hosted a North Sanpete team starving for their first region win. The Hawks got on the board first with a layup by senior Scott Hatch and were promptly answered by the 3-point prowess of Manti as the Templars pulled to a 6-2 lead. Neither team could get their scoring off the ground early, despite Manti’s 12-9 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Hatch gave the Hawks another lead, 14-13, as the teams traded buckets. For North Sanpete, Hatch and big man Jamal Mayoul started to find the hoop early, but Manti’s scorers were hitting from all over, spurred on by a 3-pointer from Huff that dropped in after bouncing high off the rim. The Templars stayed hot and carried a 35-25 lead into halftime.
As the second half began, so came the fury of the Hawks. Sophomore Trevin Morley drained a 3-pointer to spark a scoring run for North Sanpete and Mayoul made it a 10-0 run with a thunderous dunk on a fast break to tie the game 35-35. That prompted a timeout from Templar Coach Shakespear to rally the troops. The Templars got back into the swing of things with a layup from Huff and a put back from Thomson; and quickly pulled away for a 50-39 lead after a 3-pointer from Huff.
Down the stretch, North Sanpete crept back within 10 points of the Templars and made it a 4-point game after Hatch made another 3-pointer with 90 seconds remaining. Manti’s Grady Thompson made it a 3-possession game on a miracle layup and the game was eventually iced by free throws.
Hatch finished as the leading scorer in the game with 20 points for North Sanpete, while Mayoul and senior Wyatt Ison finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Huff had 16, Grady Thompson had 13, and Thomson had 11 to pace the Templars.
“We did a great job not turning the ball over, playing better position defense, and being opportunistic on the offensive end,” Shakespear said. “Our players are working really hard to be unselfish and put their best foot forward, and it is paying off. This is a fun group to coach.”
North Sanpete falls to 4-11 on the season with a 0-6 region record and a 7-game losing streak after their game against Manti. The Hawks are currently last in Region 15 and the only team in the region with less than 10 wins.
Manti will be hosting San Juan this Friday in what should be nothing short of a grudge match after their overtime loss against the Broncos earlier this season. North Sanpete will host Grand on Friday. The Hawks will be hoping for their first region win against the team they led at halftime in their first go-around.