Full-court pressure leads Miners to win over Cyprus
PCHS shakes off some rust in season opener
November 25, 2016
The beginning of a season is typically used to shake off offseason rust and work on certain team aspects. The Park City High School girls' basketball team had the perfect opportunity during its first game of the season to do just that, all while learning a valuable skill, closing out a game.
In the season opener against Cyprus High School, the Miners held a narrow lead with the clock winding down. It was a hard-fought battle, with the lead going back and forth between them and the Pirates throughout. The game was in the balance with just minutes remaining.
It wasn't a perfect ending, but thanks to some clutch free throws from Jessica Perry down the stretch, Park City is enjoying a perfect start to the season after taking down Cyprus 47-39.
"[A win] definitely sets the tone," Head Coach Sam White said. "These girls have worked super hard these last two weeks. The coaching staff has been putting in a lot of time in preparing these guys. … It was a good win. I thought probably the best thing was that they closed out a game. That's very rare for this early in the season."
Leading the way for the Miners was Perry, who finished the game with 22 points, with most of the points coming via behind the three-point arc (four three-pointers) or from the charity stripe. Perry comes into the 2016-17 season fully healthy after suffering an ACL injury last season, and there might not be anyone more excited to have her back than White.
"When she touches the ball, I can exhale," White said of Perry. "She knows what to do with it. She was playing very unselfish tonight. I thought she could have shot more, but she was moving the ball. … That's kind of what you want from your best player, is getting other people in position to score."
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Montana Landis was next for the Miners with 11 points, while sophomore point guard Lois Garlow added 10 of her own. Courtney Kaufman finished off the Park City scoring with four points via nicely-thrown assists from Perry.
Starting the game, the Pirates were giving the Miners all they could handle. Boasting some bigger players down in the post, Cyprus was able to secure offensive rebounds off of misses and alter many of Park City's shots in the lane to make the contest interesting early on.
But White had a plan. Instead of sitting back and letting the Pirates come to them, the head coach decided to dial up the pressure a little bit. Using a full-court press, the Miners came out of a timeout in the first quarter resembling pestering gnats all over the court, hounding the Cyprus ball-handlers and forcing turnovers.
"We've been nonstop working on intense pressure defense and then full-court transition drills," White said. "We haven't spent a whole lot on a set offense; still haven't had time for that. At the beginning of the year, the girls get pressure, get steals, get turnovers and then do well in transition. That's what we're trying to do."
Aiding in this endeavor was Garlow, who was like a wound-up Energizer bunny on the court for Park City. She was running the offense as the point guard, in the face of the Pirates, and she seemingly never stopped moving for the duration of the game. A large number of the Miners' forced turnovers can be attributed to the play of Garlow.
"Oh my Gosh!" White said when asked about Garlow. "She's amazing. … She's everywhere. Defensively, she's so long, but she's still so quick. She's getting her hands on every single ball and then offensively, her and Jess are just in that zone. They understand how to work together. I thought she did an excellent job of controlling the pace and tempo of the game."
Next up for the Miners is a home contest with Ben Lomond High School on Nov. 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at PCHS.