Miners dunk Cedar
It seemed like the holidays arrived a little early for the Park City girls basketball team on Friday night.
Maybe it was the magic of earning their second win of the season to 3A opponent Cedar, 49-38.
Maybe it was because it was the first game in which the new-look offense finally clicked.
Or maybe it was just the confidence the win bred for a team two weeks away from the regular season.
The game didn’t appear to be lopsided from the outset. Cedar City was able to match the Miners point for point in the first quarter, tying them at 16-16. But the Park City girls were able to keep their scoring drive going, led by forward Lauren Deane who already had 12 points by the end of the first, while Cedar quickly faded.
After a month’s worth of adjusting to more of an inside game, the ability to finally score effectively was a relief for Park City.
"We shot a lot better," said Park City assistant Matt Mapstone. "It took a while to get it together, but we’re happy that they did."
Deane led all scorers and finished the night with 21 points, but the night truly belonged to Park City center Nicole Bishop, who had 10 points. Bishop, who at six feet, five inches already enjoys an advantage over most prep female hoopsters, was able to add confidence and assertiveness to her immense talent. The combination gave her what Mapstone called her "breakout night."
"It was absolutely her best game," Mapstone said. "She was a monster. Offensively and defensively, she was incredible."
Unfortunately, Bishop will not be able to build on her game for a while. The sophomore is scheduled for surgery this week to remove staples in her knee related to problems with her growth plates. The operation will sideline her for 10-14 days, meaning she won’t return to the lineup until region play opens next month.
"We’ve been waiting for that game for two years from Nicole," Mapstone said. "This is hard."
Other players also had a strong game. Lacey Jones and Allie Winkelman, who were forced to take over new roles at the guard positions this season, finally found the consistency they had been fighting for throughout the preseason.
"We expected more at the beginning, but we’re realists," Mapstone said. "We knew it would take time."
Mapstone said that after the game the change in morale was visible, and is hopeful that it will continue through the team’s first long road trip scheduled for the end of this week.
"If we can take giant steps, we can go far for sure," Mapstone said. "We were walking, and running right now. If we can maintain "
The weekend trip will take the Miners on a southern swing to face two other Region 9 teams, Snow Canyon and Pine View. It will also round out a preseason schedule where Park City played all of the southern Utah teams they might match up with in the playoffs.
Mapstone is unsure how the team will fare against Pine View, but says that Snow Canyon will be interesting with a tall lineup that matches well with Park City. Maybe even outmatches them with the loss of Bishop, which could mean a challenging night.
The trip will also serve as a bonding experience for the team. The Park City coaching staff wants to ensure that the team is cohesive before the weeklong holiday break, and well before the regular season schedule begins in early January.
The Miners will hit the road to face Snow Canyon on Thursday, Dec. 21 and Pine View on Friday, Dec. 22. Both games will start at 7 p.m.
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The Park City lodging industry in recent weeks experienced an uptick in projected occupancy numbers during the dates of the Sundance Film Festival, but the figures remain depressed from a typical year during the largest special event on the city’s calendar.