Templars bully Bulldog rivals into submission, 54-33
MANTI— The Templars claimed their first region victory last Friday in the best possible way: at home against local rivals Gunnison High.
Manti wiped the floor with the Bulldogs in a 54-33 home win, moving to 6-10 on the season and 1-2 in region play. The Bulldogs fell to 7-7 and now own a five-game losing streak, 0-4 in region play.
For the better part of the matchup, the game was swinging in the Templars’ favor, but the Bulldogs put up a fight in the second quarter to make the halftime score a narrow 21-18 tilt in favor of Manti. After extending the lead to nine, the Templars blew away Gunnison in the fourth quarter, 22-9, to seal the win.
Stifling defense on the part of the Templars was key in holding the Bulldogs below 40 points for only the third time this season. No one could break the double-digit plane for Gunnison, who were led by senior Isaiah O’Neal’s nine points and didn’t get any scoring from off the bench.
Meanwhile, Manti had four players in double figures as sophomore Riley Curtis led all scorers with 12 points while senior Mac Stevens and sophomore Matt Nelson each contributed 11. Senior Corbin Linam also chipped in 10 points.
Prior to the rivalry matchup, Gunnison’s troubles were already laid bare by 2A leader Emery in a 53-26 throttling. In that game, Bulldog senior Cole Stewart accounted for half of Gunnison’s offensive production with 13 points.
Gunnison has not been the same since starting their season 6-1. Offensively, the difference shows in that over their last seven games, a span only including one solitary win, they have averaged a meager 44.5 points per game, down heavily from their first seven games in which they averaged 62.8 points per game. No other team in region 15 has done less on offense than Gunnison so far this season.
For Manti, the win provides the Templars with a rare breath of fresh air after they had lost eight of their last nine games. The scoring balance has been a common theme for the Templars, who have been hovering around 50 points per game.
In region 15 standings, Manti now sits just one place above Gunnison for fourth place.
Next up for Manti, a two-game started yesterday against North Sevier and will finish tomorrow against San Juan at 7 p.m.
Gunnison next plays at home against North Sevier tomorrow night at 7 p.m.