Thrilling overtime game leaves Bulldogs on top of Templars, 61-55
GUNNISON—There are few ways better to halt a losing streak than by hanging a win on your county rival, and that’s exactly what Gunnison did.
The Gunnison boys basketball team made a thrilling comeback against the rival Manti Templars, rallying to win the game in overtime, 61-55. The win avenged the Bulldogs previous region loss to Manti earlier this season, in which the Templars conquered them at home, 54-33.
The hero of the game was Bulldogs’ senior Drew Hill, who had an astounding game with 29 points, including a pair of foul shots that assured overtime. Fellows seniors Gage Mogle and Cole Stewart each added nine points as well. The Bulldogs greatly benefited from quality shooting at the foul line, hitting 24 shots out of 32 attempts.
“We were able to handle their pressure much better this time around,” Gunnison head coach Ben Hill said. “Pressure defense can cause a lot of problems for an offense. All the credit goes to our players for running offense and getting great shots. As a coaching staff, we were absolutely thrilled for our players.”
The Templars had the better of the Bulldogs in the first half, jumping ahead 10-5 after the first quarter of play. Though the scoring picked in the second, the lead remained the same at halftime with Manti leading the Bulldogs, 22-17.
After halftime, Gunnison turned on the engines. Catching the Templars off-guard, the Bulldogs raced their way back into the game with one of their most efficient quarters of play in a long time, outscoring the Templars, 18-8, to turn their five-point deficit into a five-point lead going into the final quarter.
Manti then took their turn to let their offense show up, coming back from the late deficit to take a two-point lead in the final seconds of regulation. That was when Hill got fouled, and two free throws kept the game going for extra time, tied at the end of the fourth, 52-52.
Gunnison’s offense, which had scored 35 points in the second half, lost no steam en route to the overtime victory.
“Our boys played very hard and executed many things well,” Manti head coach Devin Shakespear said, “but we missed out on a few opportunities.”
Gunnison now stands at 2-7 in region play with plenty of momentum to wrap up their season tomorrow at winless North Sevier. Game time is 7 p.m.