If not for a sluggish first quarter at Park City High School on Tuesday night, the Miners boys' basketball team could have picked up a victory against Region 10 rival Morgan.
But, when the first eight minutes of play were over, the Miners found themselves trailing the Trojans (16-6 overall, 7-0 in region) by a score of 20-6.
"When you're playing one of, if not the, best teams in the whole 3A division, you can't spot them 14 points," Park City coach Caleb Fine said. "It's hard to come back on a team that is as good as they are."
The Miners and Trojans would each score 17 points in the second quarter, with Park City out-dueling its opponent 22-16 in the third and Morgan holding a slight 17-15 edge in the final frame.
But, since games are indeed four quarters long, Park City's early deficit proved to be the difference in a 70-60 loss.
Though the Miners made several runs, cutting the Morgan lead to seven at one point, the Trojans were able to make shots when it counted to preserve the victory.
"It's a matter of them being a good basketball team," Fine said. "They made enough shots to keep us from going on a devastating run. Give them credit, but we can't afford to come out the way we did in the first quarter."
Bosten Van Der Veur led Park City with 24 points, while Reid Marks hit four three-pointers and finished with 15 points. Luke Carson had eight points, Adam Hutt added six and Sam Kingdon chipped in four.
The result wasn't what Fine was hoping for on Senior Night, with Tom Wood and Konnor Andersen taking the court at PCHS for the last time, but he said he's been blessed to have the chance to coach the two seniors.
"You get the opportunity to coach quality young men sometimes and these are two examples of that," he said. "They're going to succeed at anything they do."
Though Wood had only three points on Tuesday and Andersen didn't attempt a shot, Fine said the seniors' contributions go well beyond point totals.
"They might not blow up the stat sheet, but they want to win," he said. "They're great leaders by example for everybody else in this program. We'll miss their leadership, discipline, coachability and desire to succeed."
But they did bring important on-court skills to the Park City program as well.
"Tom is a devastating open shooter," Fine said. "Guys are going to have to knock down shots next year to replace that. And Konnor has pulled down a ton of boards for us."
Fine hopes his junior class has been paying attention to and learning from Wood and Andersen.
"Somebody's going to score, someone is going to get a rebound next year, but it's not a guarantee that you're going to have quality young men year in and year out," he said. "[Wood and Andersen] will be missed primarily because of the quality of character they have."
Though their home careers are over, Andersen and Wood hope to keep their senior seasons alive through the last road game and into the playoffs. Park City has already clinched the No. 3 seed in Region 10, ensuring a first-round road playoff game.
Park City (7-14 overall, 3-4 in region) traveled to Vernal on Friday (after this issue went to press) to take on Uintah, where Fine hoped his squad would be able to even out its Region 10 mark.
"We're in a unique situation where our seeding cannot change," he said. "The key to that basketball game is very simple Uintah is going to be playing for everything and we need to improve for the playoffs. Plus, we've been able to be .500 or better [in Region 10] the last four years, and we'd like to keep that going."