Miners brought to their knees
In the last regular season game of the year, fierce rival Judge Memorial arrived in Park City, won both games and quietly left. No fights like last year’s final game. No crude taunting from opposing crowds. It was perhaps the calmest Park City-Judge game on record.
For the girls, it may have been the realization that after suffering a 16-4 run from the Bulldogs in the third quarter, their season was likely finished. For the boys it might have been the sobering effects of an 85-45 drubbing. But most likely it was a sobering announcement made by Judge head coach Jim Yerkovich that one of their students had been killed the night before in a car accident. Following a moment of silence, the crowd simply cheered for their home team.
A season lost
At the beginning of the basketball season, there were high hopes for the Miners girls’ basketball team. After a respectable preseason, Park City seemed headed for a winning regular season and a run at the playoffs. Then somewhere along the way, the girls lost a number of close region games. Heading into Friday’s game against Judge Memorial, the girls knew they needed to win their last home game to seal a fourth place finish in Region 10 and a playoff berth. Unfortunately, they were plagued by poor shooting from the field in the third quarter that ultimately cost them the game and the season, losing 61-53.
"It’s the same story," said Miners assistant coach Matt Mapstone. "We have an offensive letdown every game."
Mapstone said much of the late season problems stemmed from situations that his team was not prepared for, including the loss of 6-foot 3-inch center Nicole Bishop to injury and a shocking loss to Uintah last week.
"They were numb," he said. "They had so many things happen. I think we were running out of gas near the end of the season."
Despite the disappointing loss, the Park City seniors put forth a valiant effort to end their prep careers. Senior Kim Mackaben finished with a double-double scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, Liz Bailey finished with 17 points and Carissa Fine played well on the defensive end.
"Our seniors put a lot of effort into their four years, so it was sad," Mapstone said. "Their effort was over the top."
One more chance
The minute the Bulldogs’ feisty point guard Jaxon Myaer stepped onto the court, the Miners were in trouble big trouble. Myaer hit three 3-pointers in a row to open the game and using all of his speed and agility, soon put the Bulldogs up 21-7 in the first quarter.
"He had a great game. He was a difference maker," said Miners head coach Troy Buford.
The stunned Miners were able to fight back in the second quarter and close the gap to within 11 points by halftime. At that point, Buford thought Myaer might run out of steam in the third quarter. No such luck. The junior fought back on defense, helping to hold the Miners to just 14 points in the second half.
"Defensively, he took it right at us," Buford said. "It was virtually over after that. They [Park City] were shell-shocked."
Myaer was joined by a group of other Bulldogs who scored in double digits, including Parkite Daniel Deane with 13 points, Andrew Maertens with 15 and Lucas Hristou with 11 points. In comparison, only the Miners’ Wil Christensen and Brandon Buford scored in the double-digit range.
"You’ve got to have a good night to beat a team like Judge," Buford said.
The Miners are scheduled for a last chance opportunity to earn a playoff berth in a play-in game against Wasatch on Tuesday. Results of the game were not available at presstime for The Park Record.
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City Hall in December posted strong sales-tax numbers, powering past projections and nearly equaling the figure from the same month in the previous year, as Park City continued to beat expectations amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.