Manti sinks 19 three-pointers against ALA, winning 84-59,
then crushes Union, 77-44
By Matt Harris
MANTI—Coach Devin Shakespear called it a “freeing week” and the Manti boys’ basketball team certainly looked to be right at home last week.
The Templars’ offensive vacation appeared to be over as Manti rained offense in a 2-0 week, beating American Leadership Academy, 84-59, last Wednesday and following it up with an even more show stopping 77-44 scorching of Union on the road.
“This has been a freeing week for us,” Shakespear said. “Our team has really attacked well and knocked down our 3s. ALA and Union had both got good wins, and we stepped up in each game. Our shot selection was great, and we had more than 20 assists in those games. It is fun to see a team some together with confidence in each other and have a lot of fun.”
Great shot selection was almost an understatement. Manti’s hot-handed shooters nailed a staggering 19 3-pointers over the two-game stretch. Manti shot 53 percent from the field against ALA and shot 35 percent from 3.
Against ALA, Manti struggled initially to get going, and the Eagles had the early lead, 8-4, but it was sophomore Kayson Douglas who started the fire, hitting two threes, then senior Grady Thompson scored a bucket and one, and the Templars went on a 11-2 run to take the lead over the final three minutes of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, an alley-oop from Thompson to senior Austin Cox in the first possession was all the warning ALA got, and Manti went from hot to flaming.
Manti ended up scoring 36 points in the second quarter, including five 3s, three of which came from Douglas. Their 36 points were the most in one quarter for the Templars since January of 2016. The Templars took a 51-27 lead into halftime.
After a slow third quarter, Manti coasted to victory. Thompson led five Templars in double figures as he scored 17 points and came oh-so-close to a triple-double as he grabbed 11 rebounds and dished eight assists.
Senior Trace Boggess scored 15 points, while senior Tate Quarnberg scored 13, and senior Tanner Justesen scored 12. Cox backed it up with 10 points.
Against Union, Manti took control early, going up 42-28 at halftime. After the break, Manti shut Union down on defense and ran away with the game on a 22-6 run, hitting five threes in the quarter.
It was Thompson again who led the Templars as he scored 20 points, while senior Braden Boggess scored 16 points. Justesen added another 16, and Cox put in 14 points. Justesen and Boggess each hit four 3-pointers as the Templars hit 10 total 3s for the game.
The Templars currently sit atop the Region 14 standings with their 15-4 overall record and 10-1 region mark. Manti is ranked No. 3 in 3A by Deseret News behind Grantsville and Juab.
Their chance to claim the region title for the second straight year will be this Tuesday as they travel to face Juab, a game that was rescheduled from its earlier spot this year due to the pandemic.