Templars start year with win over Millard, then fall to Emery, Wasatch
MT PLEASANT—The Manti basketball team started last week with a bang, defeating Millard 73-44, but then losing on the road to Emery 62-52 and then Wasatch Academy 97-44.
On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the Templars hosted the Millard Eagles and wasted no time pulling ahead for a 22-10 lead after on period. In the second period, Manti turned the ball over seven times and allowed the Eagles a nine-point run to narrow the halftime margin to three at 32-29 for the Templars.
Third quarter action saw the Templars back on track as they outscored Millard 20-5 and then coasted to the 29-point win.
Matt Nelson came off the bench to lead the Templars with 16 points, six from three-point range. Sam Benson and Corbin Linam had 13 each and Riley Curtis was the fourth Templar in double figures with 11. Kade Nicholes had seven while Dylan Wathen added six. Mac Stevens had four. Kole Brailsford had two and Brenton Thomson hit a free throw.
On Friday, Jan. 7, Manti made the road trip to Castledale to take on the Emery Spartans. Emery has yet to lose a game this year, and they are currently ranked as the top team in 2A competition.
The Templars got schooled on the boards by Emery, but still kept the game close. It looked like the Spartans would take a double-digit lead into the halftime locker room, but Benson nailed back-to-back three-pointers in the final 50 seconds to pull the Templars to within six at 27-21.
The third quarter was disastrous for the Templars. Linam and Tanner Rasmussen were in foul trouble, and the Spartans were again controlling the boards. Manti didn’t score from the field until the final two minutes of the period and Emery outscored the Templars 19-6 to go ahead by 19 after three quarters.
Manti battled back and trimmed nine points off that lead, but still came up ten points short for their first region loss of the year.
Stevens had 11 of his team-high 21 points in the final three minutes of the game. Benson had 12, all from three-point range. Linam had six, Wathen and Rasmussen had four each, Brody Barson had two and Nelson hit a free throw.
This week the Templars continued league play with a home game yesterday against Grand (score unavailable). Tomorrow they face Gunnison. The Red Devils are 8-3 on the year while the Bulldogs are 7-5. Both of these games will be key in the region standings and postseason playoff picture.