At the start of Friday night's boys' basketball game between Park City High School and North Sanpete, it looked like the Miners were on their way to an 0-3 record, trailing 29-24 after two quarters.
But, everything changed at halftime. Coming out of the break, the Miners looked like a completely different team en route to a 52-40 home victory.
After two season-opening losses to 4A squads, Park City coach Caleb Fine said he and the coaching staff had seen enough of the 3A Miners' lackadaisical defense.
"We ripped them a new one for their defensive efforts that weren't there," he said. "I'm very proud of the way they responded. It was not a fun halftime."
The second half provided some fun for the Miners, though. Park City held its opponent to only 11 points in the game's final two quarters.
"We sagged a little bit in the second half and kept them out of the paint," Fine said. "They had to shoot jump shots and couldn't score."
Park City battled back to tie the game at 36 by the end of the third quarter before pulling away from the Hawks in the fourth.
Junior guard Bosten Van Der Veur once again led the Park City scoring attack, amassing 20 points on the night. But the best part of Van Der Veur's performance on Friday, according to Fine, was the way he distributed the ball and got his teammates involved.
"Today, the thing he did differently was we challenged him to get an assist," Fine said. "He hadn't had any, but he had several tonight and still found a way to lead our team in scoring."
Chicago-area transfer Reid Marks, another junior guard, scored 16 points in his best game of the young season.
"We keep saying we're going to need multiple guys to step up and score other than Bosten, and Reid got himself to the free-throw line tonight," Fine said. "He hadn't been hitting jump shots, and he still wasn't hitting them tonight necessarily, but I was very proud of him for going to the basket and not accepting only jump shots. He got to the free-throw line 18 times, which is incredible."
Senior guard Tom Wood had two points and junior center Beau Story scored five to round out the scoring from the Park City starters. But, with six points from junior forward Adam Hutt and three points from junior guard Logan Holbrook, Fine was very happy with the performance of his bench players.
"Our bench was the best it's been," he said. "Logan comes in and he consistently gives us great minutes. Adam's a big part of our team with the injuries we've been dealing with and he really stepped up tonight after a couple tough games. He wasn't thrilled with the way he'd been playing, but tonight he engaged himself defensively first. That's what we've been harping on him for when he plays defense, his offense comes. I was very pleased with his efforts tonight."
Another bonus from Friday night's victory was that it showed the Miners how to play tough.
"We've got some guys more confident and they understand the physicality of the game," Fine said. "Especially in the second half, they showed they know how to play physical. North Sanpete was a chippy team and that didn't really disrupt them because they knew how to play physical."
Now, Park City (1-2) will prepare for a busy week. After a Tuesday road game in Payson (after this issue went to press), the Miners return home for a game against Ben Lomond on Wednesday night and a game against Taylorsville on Friday night.
Fine said the Miners will focus on conserving energy in the few practices they have this week.
"We'll get a lot of shots up and get out of there," he said. "We've got to protect these kids' legs, so we'll try to just drill the things we need to improve."
After the tough start against a pair of 4A schools, Fine said his team's major focus will be continuing to improve while maintaining a perfect record against 3A schools.
"That was one of the things we told the boys you can make a statement in 3A basketball [against North Sanpete]. 4A hasn't been any good for us. I want to compete and beat them as well, but this was a great way to start our 3A season. At the end of the day, we're trying to find ways to prepare to win a region basketball game, and hopefully eight of them."
Wednesday and Friday night's games both start at 7 p.m. in the PCHS gymnasium.