Hoops tip off
The Park City boys and girls basketball teams both got off to a strong start in their season openers. Unfortunately, neither had quite the finish that they had hoped for as the boys lost 55-39 and the girls lost 52-49.
The boys began their first year under the direction of new head coach Jim Boyce on the road against 4A East High. On the heels of a couple of baskets by Ryan Papez and Brett Miller, the Miners found themselves tied 9-9 at the end of the first quarter. Park City continued to hang with the Leopards halfway through the second quarter until a three pointer by East’s Chris Toronto set off a scoring streak where the Leopards outscored the Miners 2-1 for the 25-17 lead at halftime.
In the second half, East continued to score steadily, as the Miners struggled to sink a shot. The Miners pumped in a few shots but it wasn’t enough to overcome the streaking Leopards and the Miners lost 55-39.
Even with the difficult loss, Boyce praised his team’s effort.
"The kids played hard, that’s the No. 1 thing," Boyce said. "Preseason doesn’t mean a whole lot. You just have to focus on getting better."
He was especially pleased with the intense play by Miller, who finished the night with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
"I thought Brett Miller played his heart out," Boyce said. "He had offensive rebounds for put-backs and was at the right place at the right time."
Papez was the second-leading scorer for Park City with 10 points. The Miners struggled with their shooting, finishing at only 37-percent from the field and 25-percent from the free throw line.
The girls’ first night of the season against the Cottonwood Colts was heart-wrenching. They too, are embarking on the first season under a new coach — former assistant coach Matt Mapstone. Stocked with one of the tallest front courts in the state in six-foot four-inch Nicole Bishop and six-footer Lauren Deane, the Miners are hoping for big things.
Park City lived up to the hype in the first half, leading by 16 points at halftime.
"We came out fantastic," Park City head coach Matt Mapstone said. "Lauren and Nicole were playing great and the team came together."
Good things continued through the third quarter as the Miners lead by 17 points, and then Cottonwood decided to switch up their game plan. In the fourth quarter, they sent Karlee Talakous onto the floor for the first time in the game, after sitting her out for the first few quarters for disciplinary reasons. Talakous went on to score an astounding 23 points in the quarter.
In the meantime, the Colts defense started to press the Miners. Park City had trouble handling the press, and turned over the ball numerous times.
"We could not break the press," Mapstone said. "That’s on me. Obviously, I didn’t have them ready for the press."
With Talakous’ hot hand, Cottonwood outscored Park City 31-12 in the fourth quarter, and the Miners lost by just three points, 52-49.
"They put on a good press and when a girl gets that hot, in reality, there’s not much you can do," Mapstone said. "It’s hard to overcome that many points in eight minutes with Nicole Bishop and Lauren Deane on the floor. That’s pretty hard to do. My hat’s off to her"
Mapstone said it took him awhile to put the close loss in perspective and realize how well his team played for much of the game. Deane finished the night with 19 points and Bishop had 15 rebounds and 7 points just in the first half.
"Nicole was monstrous on the boards in the first half," Mapstone said.
He also praised the efforts of Aubrey Warner, Angela Edwards, Whitney Bailey, Ciera Figge and Kailey Slusher.
"It was a tough loss, but there were a lot of bright spots," Mapstone said. "We’ve taken the attitude that losing’s not OK, but we were good to start with and we will be good."
Both Miners team will take the holiday off before getting back into the season against County rivals next week. The girls will travel to North Summit on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the boys will face South Summit the next night on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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