RICHFIELD — The defending state champion Manti Templars kicked Providence Hall out of contention during a 74-56 quarterfinals boys' basketball game Thursday afternoon.
“What stands out to me is that team effort in making that extra pass,” said Manti coach Devin Shakespear. He said his team’s unselfishness is the key to its success. Manti ended its regular season as the second-place team in Region 15, tied with South Sevier at 8-2. The Templars beat Grantsville during the first round of the playoffs last week in Orem.
Providence Hall came into Thursday’s game after a spotless league season in Region 14 and a play-in victory against San Juan.
“We average over 17 assists per game, which if you do the math, is higher than any college team,” Shakespear said. “You can’t focus in on one guy.”
Grady Thompson led Manti’s scoring attack, sinking two 3-pointers on his way to 25 points. He also pulled down 14 boards as the game’s top rebounder. Providence Hall’s Marcus Sherwood was close with 24 points.
The game started with Manti going on a 6-2 run, with shots from junior Conner Christiansen and Travis Thomson. The Templars continued to hold off Providence Hall through the first stanza, which ended 10-4.
The Patriots made a run at Manti in the second quarter, cutting the lead down to one with 5:14 to go in the half.
“Providence Hall is a great team, and they played a great game,” Shakespear said. “We tried to contain Sherwood and some of the other guys while trying to get some things going for us up and down the floor.”
The Templars’ focus during the game was to stop runs before getting out of hand, Shakespear said. By the break, Manti had broadened the gap back to six points.
The second half began with a 3-pointer derby of sorts. Manti’s Mason Thompson hit a pair of treys out of the gate, punctuated by 3-pointers from Providence Hall’s Merrick Sherwood and Ben Morales. Thompson hit another from downtown for the Templars.Comment on this story
“Neither one of us shot very good in the first half, and in the second half some threes opened up and we took them,” Shakespear said. “We’re a team that prides itself on third and fourth quarters.”
Heading into the final quarter, Manti remained in control 45-36. The Templars were able to ice the win, and now move on to face the Region 13’s champ, Morgan.
“The game plan is the same, we have to have multiple stops and cut runs,” Shakespear said.
The tournament for Manti continues Friday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.