County rivals meet on the hardwood
In the battle among the three high schools in Summit County, competition is always fierce. Forget difference in location, background or even school size — when it’s an in-county opponent, it’s a game. This week was no different as the Park City boys and girls basketball teams took to the hardwood against North and South Summit High Schools.
Park City boys v. South Summit
If last week’s season-opening loss to East was due to jitters, then the Park City boys have found their inner Zen since that time. The Miners’ balanced scoring and tough defense gave them the easy victory over the Wildcats, 65-46, on Wednesday night in Kamas.
"It came down to not being so nervous and anxious," Park City player Ryan Papez admitted. "Last week, we had a lot of jitters."
The entire Park City team seemed calm and cohesive, earning the win with a total team effort. Papez led the team in scoring with thirteen points, but his teammates were not far behind. Brett Miller had 12 and four others were not far behind.
"We had eight different players score," Park City head coach Jim Boyce said.
Papez, who was struggling to get over a cold, said that the best part of their team is that they don’t need to rely on a one guy for a big scoring total every night.
"We’ve got a talented team," Papez said. "We don’t need a person to score 20 points."
Even with the lopsided score, Boyce said that he was impressed by South Summit and the Miners’ ability to overcome their strong athletic players.
"I was really impressed with South Summit," Boyce said. "They had some big and strong kids. They had some good players and we took them out of what they wanted to do."
"This team was pretty aggressive," Miller agreed. "It means we can play with teams this good and better."
The Wildcats stayed with Park City for much of the first half, leading 9-8 at the end of the first quarter and trailing 23-18 at halftime. In the second half, the Miners slowly began to build a gap with consistent shooting. The Miners outscored the Wildcats 24-15 in the fourth quarter. The play in the second half was a big turnaround for Park City who stayed with East in the first half last week only to struggle with shooting in the second half.
"A lot of our shots were falling," Miller said. "We were a lot more consistent in our shots."
Part of the difference is the number of outside shots the Miners took and capitalizing on open looks at the basket.
"I tell them if they’re open, they need to shoot it," Boyce said. "I think shooting is a mental thing. I never want them to hesitate when it’s in their range."
"Coach is big on getting easy shots and not just shots out of our offense," Miller said.
Perhaps the most telling stat of the Miners’ prolific night was the number of bench players that got in the game.
"It’s been awhile since our junior varsity came in and finished a game," Miller said.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats still had players score in the double digits. Brayden Stembridge tied Papez as leading scorers in the game with 13 points and Cody Marchant contributed 11 points.
"I think they’re a good team," Boyce said about South Summit. "If they had hit a couple of threes, it’s a different game."
The win gives the Park City boys something to build on as they move through the postseason. They had a game scheduled against North Sanpete on Friday and face the Ogden Tigers on the road on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.
"It gives us confidence," Papez said. "You’ve got to come out hard to win."
South Summit was scheduled to play Enterprise on Nov. 30 and host Manti at home on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m.
Park City girls v. North Summit
It was a cold night outside and inside for the Park City Miners. A second half of cold shooting and only seven points helped the North Summit Braves to the 55-35 win in Coalville on Tuesday night.
"It was partly due to their defense, but mostly our inability to make a shot," Park city head coach Matt Mapstone said. "They out-rebounded us and out-shot us and out-hustled us and outsmarted us."
The Braves, who are ranked in the top five in 2A, came out playing confidently. They quickly shot out to a 21-9 lead in the first quarter with strong shooting. The Miners came back in the second quarter, narrowing the gap to 35-28 by halftime.
"We started out slow," said Mapstone. "We dug a hole that we almost came out of."
Park City also struggled defensively. They were was without the aid of six-foot four-inch center Nicole Bishop, who was ill, and had trouble rebounding.
"North Summit would get three, four, five shots," Mapstone said. "That game is totally different with Nicole out there."
Amy Donaldson led the Braves with 16 points. Five other players scored at least six points or more for the Braves.
"One kid didn’t beat us," Mapstone said. "They’re super fast and fundamentally sound. They are just great athletes."
One bright spot for the Miners was the return of Sarah Kubicki who had six points and led the team with five steals.
"Sarah was huge for us," Mapstone said.
Kubicki, who is also a boxer, has the quickest handspeed Mapstone said he had ever seen.
Both Kubicki and Lauren Deane, who lead all scorers with 18 points on the night, got into foul trouble late in the game, which gave some of the younger Park City players a chance to play.
"We counted on the younger kids and they played their hearts out,’ said Park City assistant coach Wendy Dietz.
The Miners continue to struggle with posting a complete game. Just like last week in their opening game against Cottonwood, they had a strong first half and then had difficulty in the second half.
"We’ve been playing incredible first halves and then lose heart," Dietz said. "So that’s what we are working on."
The Miners played Grantsville on Thursday night and lost, 80-33. North Summit lost a close one to Rich on Thursday 44-41.
Park City will be in action again when they host Ben Lomond on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Park City gym.
North Summit hosts Parowan on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.