Hoopsters focus on progress, not losses
Even with Park City’s Lauren Deane turning in 28 points on Saturday night, the Miners still couldn’t seem to overcome Dixie guard Amy Crofts’ 16 points.
Crofts’ point total may have been far less than the 3A scoring leader’s nearly 30-point night, but all of Croft’s points came at the most opportune times.
Crofts started off the game hitting two three-pointers quickly putting the Miners up 12-2. Eventually Park City began to score, but the gap never seemed to close. Then again in the fourth quarter, it was Crofts 7-9 shooting from the free throw line that eventually sealed Park City’s 52-42 loss.
"If we had started stronger, we could’ve beaten them," Deane said.
Even with a 10-point loss, though, the Miners showed significant progress. In just two games, Deane has already established herself as a force to be reckoned with in 3A, and the Park City defense kept the tall, athletic Flyers in check throughout the game.
"Lauren was spectacular," Park City assistant coach Matt Mapstone said.
Park City is still adjusting to a new-look offense this year. With the graduation of guard Liz Bailey and a tall starting line-up, the Miners have shifted their focus from the perimeter to a more inside game.
"It’s a whole role reversal," Mapstone said.
They have also shifted some of their seniors to the guard spot to give them more depth at the position. The combo of new positions and new faces has made timing and ease an issue early on in the season for the Miners. The biggest adjustment is Lacey Jones who is now assigned to running the Park City offense at the point position.
"Lacey is doing a great job at a new position," Mapstone said
Allie Winkleman, formerly am inside player, is now playing shooting guard and trying to quickly learn the new demands on her both offensively and defensively.
"Having new positions is a big challenge," Winkelman said. "To start four seniors in new positions is really hard."
The new offense has also made scoring a struggle. Deane accounted for 17 of the Miners 24 points in the first half, forcing the Flyers to switch from man-to-man defense to a zone-style that put two and three defenders on the six-foot one-inch forward. With Deane stuck in traffic, more scoring was needed from the outside to keep the Miners in the game.
"We’re not talking the shots," Mapstone said. "Everyone needs to be a weapon."
Besides hitting more outside shots, the Miners also hope to take better advantage of six-foot five-inch Nicole Bishop in the post for the easy tip-in baskets.
"It’s a matter of getting them up to her," Deane said.
The Miners were also once again plagued by turnovers mostly careless mistakes like traveling and bad passes, that the Miners hope will disappear as they become more comfortable deeper into the season.
"If they get the ball from us, we can’t win," Mapstone said.
Winkelman says that once the team gets a few more preseason games under their belts, it will set the tempo.
"It’s a point where we have to step up now and set the tone," Winkelman said.
Jones adds that the team is trying to keep their progress in realistic terms.
"It’s putting in perspective we have five girls pressing and we’re being pressed," Jones said. "We’re working hard and being positive."
According to Mapstone the focus this week is on creating and taking more shots. Now that the team has adjusted somewhat to their new roles, the coaching staff is hoping to bring the offensive effort up to the level of the defense.
"It’s just taking more shots and creating open shots for girls on the perimeter," Winkelman said.
The Miners will try to rebound from their 0-2 start with a game scheduled for Tuesday against intra-county rival North Summit and the scrappy 1A St. Joseph’s in Ogden on Wednesday.
"We could get well tonight," Mapstone said. "We may be able to handle North Summit and St. Joseph’s, hopefully."
"Well" meaning more confident for a team that on paper could become a force to be reckoned with by the time region play rolls around.
"I think it will build some confidence with closer games," Deane said.
"As long as we get rid of the mistakes, we’ll be virtually unstoppable," Jones said.
Park City will travel to St. Joseph’s on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.
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Park City’s late fire chief Paul Hewitt was remembered for his desire to help others, largeness of spirit and improbable feats during a public memorial Thursday.