PCHS boys’ basketball: Miners battle No. 1 Thunder in loss | ParkRecord.com

PCHS boys’ basketball: Miners battle No. 1 Thunder in loss

Christopher Kamrani, The Park Record

Caleb Fine said his Miners just need to learn from their miscues.

And if they can achieve that, the Park City’s boys’ basketball coach said, they can be special.

"It’s time to start learning from these mistakes and turning them into wins," Fine said Monday.

After a buzzer-beater loss to 4A Skyline last Tuesday, Park City traveled south to the annual 2A/3A Season Preview Tournament in Richfield to take on two southern 3A schools, the Dixie Flyers and the No. 1-ranked Desert Hills Thunder.

The Miners went 0-2 over the weekend, falling to Dixie 44-39 Friday night, then battling the Thunder 55-49 Saturday afternoon a day after Desert Hills had demolished Bear River — Park City’s next opponent — by 32 points.

Fine said Friday’s loss to Dixie was disappointing. After taking a one-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Miners struggled once the Flyers began to heat up.

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"We were our own worst enemy," he said. "We struggled a little bit to play as a team. We did some good things against Dixie, no doubt — there were still good plays made — but we struggled to think as a team, to play as a team, and when a little adversity hit, it was suddenly a lot of individuals. It was hard to watch and it wasn’t Park City basketball."

Senior forward Jordan Ruda began a stellar weekend with 12 points, including three 3-pointers. Guard Jono Schettler added 11, while forward Britton Buford had eight.

In spite of coming off back-to-back fourth-quarter letdowns, the Miners stood toe-to-toe with the Thunder Saturday afternoon. Park City led 23-22 at halftime and was able to overcome a 17-8 third-quarter flurry from Desert Hills to turn the fourth quarter into a back-and-forth affair.

Ultimately, the Thunder were exceptional from the free throw line, burying 20-of-23 free throws to secure the 55-49 victory.

"I was very proud of the boys, the way they bounced back, no question," Fine said. "There are good loss kind of guys, but that’s not me; I like winning.

"We still made mistakes against Desert Hills that could have won us that game. I’m never someone who said there are great losses, but this was the best loss I’ve ever seen this team be a part of."

Fine said both Buford and Schettler were in foul trouble throughout the Desert Hills game, which hindered Park City on the offensive end. Park City’s coach said Buford had to sit on the bench for 10 minutes due to foul trouble, but was still able to pour in a game-high 17 points.

"Britton was awesome," he said, "not because his offense was so good, but because he took pride on the defensive end and rebounding. When he decides to play defense and rebound, he becomes as good as anybody."

Ruda had another impressive game from behind the arc, pouring in 11 points and sinking three more 3-point shots — upping his total to six for the two weekend games.

Fine said while his defense has the ability to keep his team in any game, the offense remains a work in progress.

"Our offense is not great right now and we’ve got to make adjustments," he said. "This group can be good. We haven’t arrived yet.

"At the end of the year, we’re not going to look back and say, ‘We played Desert Hills to within five.’ My goal isn’t to beat Desert Hills in the fourth game of the year; it’s to win the region."

Park City traveled to Bear River Tuesday night, after this edition went to press, to take on the 1-3 Bears. The Miners will host Snow Canyon Friday night at 7 p.m.

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