Miners earn first win in region play
Three weeks ago the Miners were looking at not winning a game this season. On Friday, they beat Wasatch on the road 55-51 and this week they could move into second place in Region 10.
"Now we’re looking at being competitive in region," said the pleased Park City head coach Matt Nagle.
Nagle says the difference lies in the boys’ approach to each game. Not known particularly for their height or extreme athleticism, the Miners are beginning to learn that a defense-heavy style of play is working for them.
"We’re very aggressive on defense," Nagle said. "It’s not a tactic, but a defensive attitude"
In the first half, the Wasps kept up with the Miners by consistently hitting three-point shots. At the half, the Park City staff said that playing relentless man-to-man defense for the rest of the game would eventually wear out the Wasps’ shooters.
They were right.
The Miners outscored Wasatch 29-21 as the Wasps struggled to make their shots fall in the second half. They also kept Wasatch’s hot-handed scorer Taylor Woodruff to an uncharacteristic 14 points.
In addition, the Miners got control of other problems like turnovers and shooting that plagued them earlier in the season. Scott Case led all scorers with 21 points. Ryan Papez and Lucas Tucker were close behind with 14 and 10 points, respectively. To maintain ball control, Nagle decided to put in both point guards, Searle Vincent and Ryan Daniels, in the game.
"We did pretty well with both guards out there," Nagle said.
The loss was the third in a row for the Wasps by a close margin, so Nagle says that he feels fortunate to have beaten them.
"Wasatch is better than their record," Nagle said.
Nagle says that the more the boys settle into their roles and believe in their strengthsthe better they will continue to perform. Alex Berry has set himself apart as a rebounding specialist and even hit a three pointer in the Wasatch game.
"Everybody’s figuring out what they are supposed to do," Nagle said.
The Miners were just a few days removed from a 65-52 loss to Morgan, where Nagle said the boys learned a lot about themselves. Papez began taking more inside slashing shots, therefore earning more trips to the free-throw line. Case and Tucker played well offensively and the guards were able to maintain control of the ball throughout the game.
"We learned we can play with teams in this region if we play well," Nagle said. "We finally believe we can do it."
The Miners will need to continue to believe in themselves with a game scheduled against Uintah on Tuesday and then 3A powerhouse and arch nemesis Judge on Friday. Nagle says overcoming the likes of the Bulldog’s six-foot nine-inch center Noel Hollingsworth and the speedy Jaxon Myaer at guard is unlikely, but the Miners are going to come out hard and play their game.
"We have nothing to lose," Nagle said. "No one in the world expects us to win, so we can take risks and have fun with it."
The Miners will host the Bulldogs on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.
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