RICHFIELD At the base of Manti senior David Hugentobler's shoes he has written two phrases to remind himself of what this basketball season was supposed to be all about: "We, not me," and "Brotherhood."
"Before every game, and when we come out of timeouts, we cheer, 'brotherhood,'" said Hugentobler. "That is what we consider ourselves on this team, and we knew that there was no way we could have a good season or win a championship if we didn't think about we instead of me."
The Templars took heed to the advice. They displayed pure team basketball to beat Parowan 58-49 Saturday night at the Sevier Valley Center to win their second state title in six years.
"The thing about this team is all year it has been all about the good of the whole," said coach Mark Hugentobler. "There wasn't a guy out there that didn't do what was asked of him and sacrifice something to help out the team."
A perfect example of that type of dedication and sacrifice was tournament MVP Tylan Jackson. He was cut from the team as a sophomore and thought his basketball days may have been over.
"I was planning on wrestling my junior year, but coach came to me and asked me to play," Jackson said. "I knew then that I needed to come play and help out my friends and teammates. It has been a great experience ever since."
David and Jackson were the only two seniors on the squad, and Mark thought the two were invaluable in their roles.
"I can't imagine having two better leaders for a team," said the coach. "David did so many intangible things for us out on the court that just don't show up in the box score. I asked him to go from our leading scorer (last season) to our playmaker. Tylan just showed what determination can do. He was the Michael Jordan of the team considering I cut him his sophomore year."
Right from the opening tip Manti came out aggressive. It opened up a quick 8-0 lead that was capped by an alley-oop dunk by Nick Brown. From there it was a game of spurts. Seven quick points from Parowan answered by seven right back by Manti. But by the end of the half the Templars had a 28-18 lead.
The Rams came out hot to open the third going on a 16-6 run to tie it at 34, but again Manti answered with a 6-1 run to close the quarter. Parowan never could get over the hump and never got closer than five points in the fourth quarter as Manti claimed its third state basketball title in school history.
"This is what you work so hard for all year. It's what I've been waiting for my whole life," said all-tournament team member Griffin Aste."
Jackson finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Templars. Russ Hugentobler and Aste scored 12 points apiece in the win. Parowan was led by Robbie Tripp's 15 points."This is definitely a highlight of my life being a leader and winning it all," said David, "but with all these younger guys playing huge for us this year, I expect them to learn from this experience and do it again next year."
2A Boys all-tourney team
MVP Tylan Jackson, Manti
David Hugentobler, Manti
Griffin Aste, Manti
Scott Hunter, Parowan
Robbie Tripp, Parowan
Caden Richins, North Summit
Dillon Bishoff, South Sevier