Manti takes home lesson
in adversity against ALA
By Matt Harris
MANTI—Perhaps the only surprising thing about the Templar’s games last week is that one of them was fairly close.
Manti boys’ hoops took home a positive lesson in overcoming adversity last week with a close call against American Leadership, 56-42, preceded by a dominant win over Maeser Prep, 76-47. As reported by Coach Devin Shakespear, the wins came in the absence of starting guard and senior Kevin Clark and key rotational player, senior Isaac Cluff.
Answering the call, senior Konnor Clark filled in Kevin’s absence and turned in the first two double-digit scoring games in his time as a Templar.
“Konnor’s prep all season and prior to the season has been great like the rest of the seniors,” Shakespear said. “He is prepared and works hard each day. It was great to see him start and play well. It is important players like him continue improving so they are ready for anything. You can’t predict injuries, and it is nice to have confidence in guys to step up. Our bench is imperative to our success just like our starters.”
Against Maeser Prep, a game the Templars had in hand early on, senior Jordan Blauer turned in a signature performance of 24 points, including four 3-pointers. He was backed up by 14 points from junior Grady Thompson, 11 from Konnor Clark and 10 from senior Conner Christiansen.
Against American Leadership, the Templars’ game plan was restructured down two players, and the Eagles, who were on a six-game winning streak, came out swinging and held Manti score-for-score.
The game was surprisingly tied at 35 apiece at the end of the third quarter before the Templars’ offense woke up. In the final eight minutes, Manti outscored ALA, 21-7, and ran away with a win.
The normally eclectic and all-inclusive Manti offense only had five scorers against the Eagles. Thompson and Konnor Clark shared 15 points each, and Blauer chipped in 11.
“We did not shoot the ball well, and they played tough,” Shakespear said. “Sometimes, it is important to learn to win differently, and I am glad our defense showed up to carry us.”
Shakespear expressed his hope that the Templars will be able to get healthy and be playing their “best basketball” during the final three games of the regular season.
The Templars hosted Union last night. They’ll be on the road against Delta next Wednesday night.