Girls open year with frustrating finish
It was the first game of the Park City girls basketball season and it played out just that way, with team losing 37-31 to the Bear River Bears due mostly to miscues and missing easy shots.
"It’s early season," said Miners head coach Steve Crandall. "We just played like a first game."
Despite being much smaller, the Bears were able to use scrappy defense and quick ball handling skills to eventually move past the Miners and steal their first win at home.
"They were really prepared and a little more physical," Crandall said.
Still, Crandall is comfortable with the knowledge that his tall and talented team just has a few glitches and jitters to work out before they can begin playing games to their advantage.
"I didn’t feel too frustrated," Crandall said. "They did what we wanted them to do, but didn’t get the results."
The lack of results was due mostly to missed shots within five feet of the basket. Tip-ins and shots underneath the basket just wouldn’t fall for the Miners, despite the fact that their size gave them a good vantage point over the Bears.
"The timing was off," lamented Crandall. "It seemed like every time we got around the basket, we missed a shot."
The Miners still managed to get some action inside with forward Lauren Deane, who kept drawing fouls, which put her at the line for much of the game. With so many foul shots, Deane managed to finish the game as the leading scorer with 17 points.
"She was working really hard inside," Crandall said.
Deane’s use of her strong, six-foot frame is exactly what Crandall is hoping will rub off on some of the other inside players. When smaller teams use defense to move around the Miners, he plans on using superior size to stop them.
"We are working on our inside game and making the most of it," Crandall said.
Thus far, the girls have executed the inside game plan in theory. Now, the key is getting the shots to drop.
Even with the problems with their short-range shots, the Miners were still in the game until the very end. In the first quarter, they were neck-and-neck, and trailed the Bears heading into halftime by just 5 points, 20-15.
In the third, the Miners started playing more aggressively in answer to the Bears tight defense. The plan worked, shutting the Bears out for the quarter and meanwhile, scoring 11 points to move ahead, 26-20.
"They were working very hard in the third. I was pleased with that," Crandall said.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Miners struggled to score and allowed the Bears to get back in the game. Still unable to score consistently, the Miners were eventually forced to foul Bear River to stop the clock at the end of game and gave up their first matchup, 37-31.
"We missed the opportunity to go up at the start of the fourth," Crandall said. "That was the turning point. We just didn’t convert."
Crandall said that the girls also seemed to lose steam at the end of the game, but says that game energy should come pretty soon.
The girls will have to keep their energy up this Saturday, when Dixie comes to town. Crandall scheduled the Region 9 school, because the Miners will be paired with that region in the state tournament at the end of the season. He hopes an early look at the Flyers and Cedar next week will help prepare them for games later in the year.
Dixie boasts a much taller lineup than Bear River and very strong guard play, so the Miners will hope to have eliminated some of their small mistakes and shooting issues by then. Crandall says that Dixie only lost one senior last year, so experience will also be a factor with many younger players on the Miners roster.
"I’m expecting this to be good," Crandall said.
Park City will host the Dixie Flyers this Saturday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. in the Park City High School gym.
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