Hoops hoppin’ over holiday
While the rest of the community used the last two weeks to celebrate and take a few days off, the Park City girls basketball team was hard at work.
They started their holiday round of games on Tuesday night with a narrow loss against Grantsville, 46-45 in overtime. According to Park City assistant coach Matt Mapstone, the Miners had the game in hand but let Grantsville back in at the end and ultimately let them have control of the ball at the last minute. It looked like the Miners were still going to win the game even in the overtime, but Grantsville’s Kelsie Wells’ three-pointer at the buzzer sealed the Miners’ fate. Still, Mapstone was pleased to finally see the Miners play so well against an evenly matched team.
"We finally had the level of play we needed," Mapstone said.
On Thursday, the girls were hundreds of miles away in Southern Utah for a game against Snow Canyon, but their fate was similar in a 40-39 loss for the Miners. The only difference this time, was that Park City found themselves with the ball at the end of regulation.
Snow Canyon was the Miners’ first look at a team that could match their tall lineup. Unfortunately, Park City was without their tallest member, six-foot five-inch Nicole Bishop who had growth plate surgery over the holiday break. The Miners never led the game after going up 2-0 in the first quarter, but by fourth, came within five of Snow Canyon with less than a minute left. The Miners’ Lauren Deane immediately hit a three-point shot and was fouled soon afterwards. She converted on the free throw, but madeanother foul and a missed free throw later, the Miners called a timeout and decided to send the ball inside to Deane. On the ensuing play, Deane barely missed the basket and the Miners again suffered a disheartening one-point loss.
"We played really hard the whole game," said Mapstone. "That was just a great, intense game. I was really proud of them."
The next evening against Snow Canyon, the Miners did not fare as well, suffering a disappointing 58-39 loss. Park City had a sizable 20 point lead at halftime, but the intensity of back-to-back games started to show on the tired Miners and sloppy play allowed Pine View back in the game. They also suffered the wrath of Pine View freshman Rachel Spinks, who scored a shocking 15 points in just her second varsity start.
Mapstone said, in both games Bishop’s absences made a big difference.
"Not having Nicole was huge," Mapstone said
Even with a rough finish, the Miners were still encouraged by their performance against a tough region. Mapstone said that in his many years with the girls program, he has never seen a team play so well against Region 9 competition and hopes the trend continues.
"Right now, we know we can play with everyone," Mapstone said.
He said in the Snow Canyon game, the girls finally made the realization what happens when they play hard the entire game.
"They’ve lost by not many points the entire year. If they play hard the whole game, they’ll win these close games," Mapstone said.
The Miners will get two more chances to prepare for region play and round out their holiday schedule with a game scheduled Friday against Logan at home and another against South Summit on Jan. 2.
Mapstone said that after the tough play last week, the girls should be able to beat Logan. The girls will have had a week off before the Logan game to recoup from preseason bumps and bruises. He also said a mental break to refocus should benefit them in both of the remaining preseason matchups.
The Miners host Logan in an early Friday afternoon game at 1 p.m. at the Park City High School gym. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Park City will host county rival South Summit at 7 p.m.
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The Park City police responded to a series of accidents involving drivers and wildlife, indicating at least one of the animals was killed during a collision.