When the members of the Park City High School boys' basketball team looked up at the scoreboard at halftime of Monday night's contest against 4A Logan, what they saw wasn't pretty.
After scoring only eight points in the first quarter and following that up with a five-point second quarter, Logan had tripled Park City's point total, leading 39-13 at the break.
Park City coach Caleb Fine let his team know that it would have to step up its effort in the second half.
"It wasn't a fun halftime," he said. "In fact, I think it was the most embarrassing half of basketball I've ever seen these kids play."
Though the Miners would eventually lose 71-42, Fine thought the effort was much better in the second half. In fact, the Miners actually outscored the Grizzlies 16-13 in the third quarter.
"There were some things at the end of the game that we could say, 'Hey, these were improvements,'" Fine said. "Specifically in the second half, I thought we competed more consistently. We still unfortunately had some lapses, especially in the fourth quarter. But, in the third quarter, we were able to score a little bit more. Anything is better than 13 points in a half, though. Hopefully, with the positives in the third quarter, the boys understand that it was mentality-based."
Bosten Van Der Veur, the Miners' leading scorer, was held in check by the Grizzlies, finishing with a season-low 14 points. Sam Kingdon, who recently returned from injury, finished with 10 points. Fine said he hopes to see more solid performances out of the junior forward.
"In the fourth quarter, Sam put forth a little bit of effort," he said. "If we can get Sam to play with 100 percent effort, he will be a huge part of this basketball team. He has size and he's got a strong skill set. Today, in the fourth quarter specifically, he did some good things."
Reid Marks finished with seven points, Beau Story had five points, Tom Wood chipped in four points and Konnor Andersen added two points in the loss.
On the Logan side, four players finished with double-digit point totals. Jaxton Andersen and Chandler Medlin each had 18 points to lead the way, while Tyler Brimhall had 12 points and Marcus Maes added 10 points.
Fine said he was hoping for a better effort from his team, based on the way the Miners have played against other tough non-region competition this year.
"That's definitely the best team we've played," he said of the Grizzlies. "There are teams close to that caliber that we've played, which hurts me because I knew we had to play a great game to even have a chance to win. But the mentality was so off from the boys. That starts with me, so we're going to have to try pushing some different buttons."
After a loss to 2A South Summit on Dec. 28, Fine was hoping the team would come out with an improved mentality. But, without Park City's usual ravenous fan base in attendance because of the holidays, the Miners looked flat against Logan.
"I definitely think that was part of the mentality issue," Fine said. "Certainly, we didn't have our home-court advantage tonight, but it is what it is. Logan didn't care at all."
The key to improvement, according to Fine, will be learning what a great team like the Grizzlies does and trying to implement it into what the Miners do.
"Hopefully what you take away more than anything is that what Logan does right are things we need to try to emulate," he said. "Their coach, Logan Brown, does a great job coaching that basketball team. He has them ready to play in any atmosphere. Unfortunately, we did not have a winning mentality tonight, and we've struggled with that mentality the last couple games."
In order to regroup ahead of Friday night's game at Summit Academy (after this issue went to press), Fine said the Miners would be focusing on details and hustle at practice.
"We're doing a lot of walking walking to timeouts, walking in and out," he said. "We're going to work on mentality focusing on the little things, sprinting everywhere, being more consistent in rebounding."
The Miners will be back in action on Tuesday night, when they travel to Heber to take on rival Wasatch. Park City will be back at home on Friday, Jan. 10, against Grantsville. Both games will tip-off at 7 p.m.