Templars climb over Grantsville
to make it to state final playoffs
By Drayson Ball
Mar. 1, 2018
A wire-to-wire semi-final victory for Manti High School has the Templars state championship bound.
Manti defeated Grantsville 56-37 on Friday night in St. George to earn a spot to face South Sevier in the 3A State Championship game Saturday.
Buckets were hard to come by for both teams early despite the Templars jumping out to an early 9-2 lead. The Cowboys were able to stymie Manti’s offense for the rest of the period, but the Templars led 9-6 heading into the second quarter.
The Cowboys were able to trim the lead slightly in the second quarter. They were able to grab a handful of offensive rebounds which lead to easy put-backs in the paint. Despite the defensive breakdowns, Manti went into halftime with a 21-19 advantage.
“We gave up too many offensive rebounds, but we made the adjustment at halftime to have more help on defense to get an extra rebounder down low,” Manti head coach Devin Shakespear said.” We were fronting the post which allowed them to have the advantage when the shot went up, but we were able to do a little better job of that in the second half.”
Manti was able to extend the lead early in the third quarter, 28-21, but Grantsville quickly closed the gap with a 6-0 run midway through the period.
The game turned as the Templars clamped down defensively and held the Cowboys scoreless over a 7 minute stretch between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth. Meanwhile, Manti’s offense found its rhythm and went on an 18-0 run to take a 46-27 lead with less than five minutes to play in regulation.
The Templars held onto the lead to book their ticket to the state title with a convincing 56-37 win.
Manti held the Cowboys to 17 percent shooting in the second half while the Templar offense connected on a scorching 62 percent clip over the same stretch and 52 percent throughout the game.
“Offensive efficiency for us has been really good this year, so I felt like it was only a matter of time before we started clicking,” Shakespear said. “The biggest thing was to just keep working hard on defense. I knew if we could hold them defensively, our offense would come along.”
Three Templars scored in double figures lead by senior shooting guard Matt Nelson, who put in 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished four assists. Dylan Wathen chipped in 13 points and four dimes, while Travis Thomson had 10 points and Kade Nicholes added nine. Brody Barson, Tanner Rasmussen, Dallin Cox, and Adam Huff each scored two points in the winning effort.
The Templars will take on the South Sevier Rams Saturday night at 7 p.m. inside Burns Arena in St. George, with a chance to take home the 2018 3A State Championship.