Templars get emotional win
over rival Hawks at state
By Matt Harris
PRICE—As one team’s playoff hopes finds its stride, another team’s season came to a close.
The Manti boys’ basketball team claimed an emotional victory over North Sanpete, 60-44, in the second round of the 3A state tournament, allowing the Templars to move on to the quarterfinals while the Hawks went home for the last time this season.
Manti pulled out the win despite a valiant first half effort from North Sanpete, who fought the heavily favored Templars to a 29-26 halftime Manti lead.
The Templars were playing without one of their most key players, senior Conner Christiansen, after a medical emergency occurred in their practice that morning, Coach Devin Shakespear said.
It was later reported that Christiansen was medically cleared and is expected to be in shape to play the rest of the tournament.
Shakespear called that Saturday “an emotional day for all our players.”
“Conner is not a kid you can just replace in the lineup,” Shakespear said. “We were glad to have played well enough to win for Conner.”
Coming out of halftime, Manti clamped down on defense, forcing a missed layup and a block in North Sanpete’s first two possessions. The Templars still went without a basket from the field in their first four possessions despite several offensive rebounds.
A put back layup got Manti finally scoring again, and a steal and fast break layup got the Templars heated up in the final three minutes of the third quarter.
North Sanpete couldn’t get any closer after the Templars ended the third with a 10-point lead.
For Manti, senior Travis Thomson led all scorers with 19 points to go with 7 rebounds. Senior Konner Clark chipped in 12 points. The Templars shot 22-28 from the free-throw line.
North Sanpete junior Trevin Morley led the Hawks with 11 points.
Prior to the matchup with Manti, North Sanpete defeated Maeser Prep, 56-50, in the first round of the tournament. It was North Sanpete’s first playoff win since 2011.
Junior Brady Jacobsen had the hot hand in the Hawks third meeting this season with the Lions. Jacobsen made four 3-pointers en route to a 16-point night which led all scorers. Junior Dallon Steadman backed him up with 11 points.
Neither team could really shake the other all game long despite North Sanpete being the lead most of the time.
With 75 seconds remaining, Steadman caught a pass underneath the hoop and put it up with contact for points and a foul, giving North Sanpete a five-point lead.
Jacobsen drained two free throws with five seconds left to seal the deal.
North Sanpete Coach Cris Hoopes said his goal to see his boys improve and make it to the playoffs was achieved. But his team struggled offensively at times, and that hurt them on the defensive end of the court.
Hoopes said he looks forward to the challenges of next year and he expects his region to be stronger than ever. “We know we need to improve,” he said. “It will be nice to have experience at the varsity level. Our boys will need to get stronger and compete through the off season to help us get to where we want to be.”
While North Sanpete now looks to next season, the Templars look ahead to tonight where they face Grantsville in the quarterfinal.
“Quarterfinals on are all great teams,” Shakespear said, “and for us to make a run, we will need to keep teams off the boards, keep our turnovers low and be efficient on offense and defense. We need a high performance each night and to be playing our best basketball.”
Manti’s matchup with the Cowboys takes place this Thursday morning at Salt Lake Community College at 11:10 a.m.