Understaffed Lady Templars take on tough teams, lose both games
MANTI—The Manti girls basketball team had perhaps two of their best team efforts last week, but unfortunately, the team was three key players short and taking on two of the best teams in the state.
On Tuesday, Jan. 17 Manti came up short 66-22 against North Sevier and then on Friday, Jan. 20, lost to San Juan 51-20.
At the San Juan game, one of the officials was overheard saying, “I’ve never seen a team down 30 points that worked so hard.”
Coach Roger Watson and his assistants were also pleased with the effort of their players.
“We talked about it after the game,” he said. “Those who played gave it everything they had.”
Fans in attendance last week saw an improved level of play by the Lady Templars. They were more confident and aggressive on offense, more patient running plays and played better defense.
In the North Sevier game, the Templars went to Leah Howe in the paint where she scored a team-high 11 points. The Wolves had a hard time stopping her, so they sent her to the free throw line 11 times, where she got seven of her points.
North Sevier launched 21 shots from three-point range, netting 15 points. Manti was one of four from behind the arc.
Howe had six rebounds to go along with her 11 points, Ashton Wood had four points, Auri Squire hit a three and had four boards. Kjerstin Birch had two points and four rebounds. Tyra Hermansen had two points. Kallie Young had five rebounds; Amie Squire and Keslee Cox had three each.
Against San Juan, it was a defensive struggle for the first four minutes of the game until Auri Squire hit the first bucket to give Manti their only lead of the game. It was a very physical game with many Templar fans wondering what it would take for Manti to earn a trip to the free throw line while the Broncos got 21 attempts from the charity stripe.
Manti had 28 rebounds in the game compared to 31 for San Juan. The Lady Templars also forced 21 Bronco turnovers.
Auri Squire looked more comfortable after being moved from point guard to shooting guard. She led Manti with eight points and four rebounds. Wood had four points, three boards and four steals. Amie Squire had three points and four rebounds. Cox had two points and five rebounds. LaRiah Rosser had two points, and Birch hit a free throw and had five rebounds. Young had four rebounds and two steals.
Howe missed the San Juan game due to a neck injury from when she dove for a loose ball in the North Sevier game. She is hopeful for this week’s game against Emery. Jamie Bawden is out for the year. She had just been cleared to return to the court when she ruptured her Achilles tendon in a freak accident away from practice. Avalin Cook is also out for the season with torn ligaments in her ankle. Wood is playing with a heavily braced knee to support a dislocated kneecap and will likely undergo surgery after the season.
Manti will travel to Emery today. The Spartans are 14-1 on the year and ranked second in the state behind North Summit, the only team to beat them. Emery is 5-0 in region play.