WEST VALLEY CITY Unless you paid close attention to the public address announcer at the E Center, you had no idea who was wearing jersey number 15 for Logan on Thursday afternoon.
No. 15 was dominant in the first half, scoring 13 of his game-high 18 points. In the second half, he contributed mostly on the defensive end of the floor while helping the Grizzlies to a 55-49 win over Cedar in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Fans may not have known that it was Jeff Manning, the quarterback for Logan's football team, scoring those points and controlling the action near the basket on both ends of the floor because he isn't listed on the team's roster in the tournament program.
"They know him now," said Grizzlies coach Jeff Brimhall.
The Redmen need no further introduction.
Manning was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, shot 8-for-11 from the free-throw line, and he added seven rebounds and three blocked shots in his most productive game of the season. Manning helped the Grizzlies relax early in the spacious confines of the E Center, as he scored six points in the first quarter.
Manning missed Logan's first eight games after breaking his thumb in the second quarter of the Grizzlies' win over Judge in the 3A state championship football game. It took some time for him to get in basketball shape, but he and the Grizzlies, winners of nine of their last 10 games, are peaking at the right time.
"It took him a while to get going, but he's made a big difference for us," Brimhall said. "He's 6-foot-5, and long as can be. He does a lot of little things for us."
While Manning's identity was a mystery for much of Thursday's game, the Grizzlies' style of play was also unfamiliar. Known to be a run-and-gun team under Brimhall, Logan played at a slow place against Cedar, running its offense in the halfcourt and pounding the ball inside to Manning, Darrick McIntosh and Zach Skabelund.
The strategy worked, as Cedar couldn't stop Logan's tree-like trio. Manning (6-5), McIntosh (6-6) and Skabelund (6-6) combined for 36 points and 21 rebounds.
"We didn't make any 3-pointers and that's really different for us," Manning said. "We wanted to attack the basket and get to the free-throw line. We (usually) like to get up and down the court, but we worked inside from the start of the game."
Logan was in control for much of the contest, but entered the fourth quarter tied with Cedar at 32. That's when the Grizzlies pulled away. Devin Peterson, who entered the game as Logan's leading scorer, was held scoreless in the first three quarters of Thursday's contest. But he scored two quick baskets at the start of the fourth to spark a 10-0 run by the Grizzlies.The spurt proved to be the difference, as Cedar couldn't get within five points the rest of the way.
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