Manti yields region title to Juab,
Templars get bye in
first state round
By Matt Harris
MANTI—The Manti boys’ basketball team finished the regular season in much the same way they began it—having another top team show them what they need to improve on.
The Templars’ bid to claim their second straight Region 14 title fell short as Manti couldn’t complete their rally in a 50-46 loss to Juab last Tuesday; and the Wasps claimed the region title.
Manti started the game down big early and gradually pulled back over the last three quarters. Juab had just enough in the final quarter to put the Templars away for the second time this season.
Following a subsequent win by the Templars over Delta, 70-53, on Senior Night last Friday, Manti finished their regular season with a 16-5 overall record, going 10-2 in Region 14 play. The Templars lost only three games against 3A teams, two to Juab and one in the season opener to Grantsville. Both teams are currently ranked ahead of Manti in RPI.
Manti’s RPI ranking gives them the 3-seed in the 3A state playoffs this upcoming weekend. They’ll get a first-round bye and likely have a second-round date with American Leadership, who are heavily favored to beat Maeser Prep in the first round.
Coming in to face Juab for a de facto title game, Manti struggled through the first quarter and was dominated on both ends of the court. An opening 3-pointer on the first possession for Manti by senior Austin Cox gave a glimmer of confidence before the Wasps clamped everything down.
On offense, Juab turned to the unstoppable force of senior Ty Allred, who grabbed four offensive rebounds in the first four minutes as the Wasps went on an 11-0 run before Coach Devin Shakespear called a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Juab nailed a 3-pointer, and the onslaught continued. With 1:15 remaining in the first quarter, senior Tanner Justesen scored on a floater to stop the 18-0 run by Juab, and the Wasps were up, 20-6, at the end of the first, their last points of the quarter on a tomahawk slam by Allred.
Manti turned on the defensive intensity in the second quarter and filtered the offense through senior Grady Thompson, leading to a 9-2 run to get back into it with 3:26 left until halftime. After a timeout by Juab, the Templars engaged in full-court defense to disrupt the rhythm of the streaking Wasps.
A fast break by senior Braden Boggess got Manti within five, 22-17, before Juab pulled back away to take a 27-19 lead into halftime, the only time this season Manti was held below 20 points in the first half.
Manti continued to pick up the heat coming out of halftime as Justesen euro stepped for a layup falling down, then Thompson delivered a no-look pass to senior Tate Quarnberg for a wide-open 3-pointer, who drilled it to make it a one-possession game and prompt a timeout call by Juab.
Allred hit a rare 3-pointer coming out of the timeout, but Manti wasn’t going anywhere, using full-court defense and hot shooting to make it a two-point game going into the fourth with Juab holding a 34-32 lead.
Juab delivered a few haymakers to start the quarter with a 6-0 run, and Manti responded with a few traded baskets.
With two minutes remaining, Juab held a 45-38 advantage. Thompson made a pair of free throws to bring the Templars within six, but Juab resorted to playing keep-away.
Braden Boggess nailed a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds left, and Shakespear called a timeout trailing 49-43. The Templars forced a turnover on the ensuing possession, leading to another 3-pointer from Boggess.
Manti was looking for a miracle on their last possession that wouldn’t come, however, and Juab walked away with the victory.
Thompson and Braden Boggess led the Templars with 10 points each. Juab’s Allred led all scorers with 21 points.
The Templars will host their first playoff game at home this coming Friday.