Templars suffer first home
loss since 2019 against
tough Juab Wasps
By Matt Harris
MANTI—For the first time in over two years, Manti fans filed out of their home gym after 32 minutes of action in boys’ basketball, and the feeling of victory did not accompany them.
Manti boys’ basketball team did all they could do, but a perfectly executed game plan on offense by the rival Juab Wasps was the Templars’ undoing as they fell, 63-57, last Wednesday. It was Manti’s first loss in Region 14 play this season, and it was their first home loss since Jan. 2, 2019, a streak of 21 straight. It also broke a streak of five straight wins over the Wasps since before Manti had rejoined the ranks of 3A.
The Templars struggled to shoot overall, 39 percent, but still shot excellently from the 3-point line, hitting 7 of 24 attempts, and also shot well on free throws, hitting 16 of 21 attempts. What could not be stopped was Juab’s dominating physicality and size in the paint. Juab rode the backs of senior forward Ty Allred, who scored 25 points on 10-15 shooting and shot 6-7 on free throws. As a team, Juab shot a smoking hot 62 percent from the field, but because the Wasps only attempted two 3-pointers and didn’t make either of them, Manti hung around from beginning to end.
As a sign of things to come, Manti’s struggle against the long and rigid Wasp defense started right away. The Templars could not find a basket for the first three minutes of the game and only attempted three shots, while Juab’s star forward put the Wasps up, 4-0. Manti finally got on the board with a fast break, finishing a half court pass to senior Tate Quarnberg for an easy lay-in.
Juab continued to pound Manti in the paint and got out to a 12-2 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter, prompting a timeout call from Coach Devin Shakespear. Coming out of the timeout, Manti leaned into the scoring ability of senior Grady Thompson, who scored the next seven points for the Templars to bring them back within five.
In the second quarter, it was all Templars for the first two minutes as they went on a 10-0 run to take the lead for the first time after senior Tanner Justesen nailed a 3-pointer.
The Templars led by as much as five before Juab stormed back with a string of post plays led by Alllred, going on an 8-0 run to take the lead back, 26-23.
Juab held a 27-25 lead at halftime, and Manti consistently drew on the verge of taking the lead back, but the Wasps continued to be unstoppable inside the paint and took a 46-40 lead to the fourth quarter.
In a game heavy on contact, Juab made the free throws it needed to make to keep the Templars at arm’s length in the final minutes.
Thompson led the Templars with 18 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing five assists. Senior Braden Boggess scored 11 points. Both Justesen and senior Austin Cox fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Juab made 21 free throws on 32 attempts. Manti gave their opponent more than 30 free throw attempts for the second straight game and the third time in seven games.
The Templars moved to 13-4 on the season after they followed up the loss with a 77-32 demolishing of Maeser Prep on the road. Justesen led all scorers with 15 points, while Thompson scored 13, and Cox scored 10 points.
Manti stays home to host American Leadership Academy this Wednesday; they will travel to Union on Friday.