After finding her team trailing 25-18 at halftime, with the offense struggling to knock down shots, Park City junior Mireia Labadie decided to take matters into her own hands.
Following buckets from Jessica Perry and Sabrina Prior, Labadie went on a tear, scoring 10 of the Miners' next 12 points before the third quarter ended. Park City briefly took a 32-29 lead before the 4A Huskies bounced back to regain a 37-34 lead at the end of the period.
The Miners would ultimately lose the game 57-48, but head coach Sam White was pleased with the way his team's new fast-paced tempo worked out in the season opener.
"I liked it," he said. "Obviously we've got to make a few more adjustments and we've got to practice some things, but I liked it."
Compared to last year's slow, plodding pace, White thinks this year's Miner squad is going to keep opponents on their toes.
"It was a lot more fun to coach, a lot more fun to watch, and you could see the girls really buying in," he said. "They're giving it their all."
After the slow start, White was proud of the way the offense stepped up in the second half, led by Labadie.
"We were settling for outside shots and taking shots out of rhythm, stuff like that," he said. "So we told them at halftime to pump fake and drive, pump fake and drive. That's [Labadie's] style. That's just how she plays. She's a hard worker."
But it wasn't just a one-person effort, White added. Though Labadie led the team with 18 points in the game, Marina Mayo finished with nine points and Sariah Folau had eight points. Perry contributed five points and Prior and Hanna Shluker each chipped in with four apiece.
"I think everybody stepped up," he said. "It was great to see."
The Miners' fortunes turned when Prior, the team's center, picked up her fifth foul with 4:49 left in the fourth quarter, fouling out of the contest. That's when Hillcrest began to pound away at Park City in the paint, pulling away for the victory.
"Sabrina's our rock," White said. "We need to have her in the game.
Prior wasn't the only one forcing turnovers, though. The Miners' half-court trap defense forced the Huskies into several uncharacteristic turnovers per quarter.
White credits the Miners' conditioning for being able to play suffocating defense.
"I think they saw the running we've been doing in practice is working," he said. "They saw Hillcrest taking deep breaths and making mental errors. I think the altitude helps us, but any time we can run on people, we're going to. They just needed to see that if they buy in and work hard in practice, we can run over people."
And the running will only get easier as the team's depth improves.
"We missed [sophomore] Madeline Komisar," White said. "She's in Tennessee, but she'll be back next week. We've got to get the other subs ready to play too so that we can almost have a line change five go in, five come out. Then we'll be able to run the entire game."
Depth will also be crucial for the Miners' upcoming week. Park City will play at home against Tooele on Tuesday, at Jordan on Thursday and at Provo on Saturday. Tuesday's varsity home game against Tooele tips off at 5:15 p.m.