Miners girls basketball bolstered by new talent
November 4, 2017
After the Park City High School girls basketball team graduated seven seniors last season, it would be fair to assume the Miners have some readjusting to do. But even with tryouts still days away, coach Sam White said the team is poised for success.
White said the team will have a few things going for it: It's drawing good talent from last season's peripheral varsity players and leading JV players, and it's also experienced an influx of talented players from out of town.
First the returners.
Seniors Madi Barfuss, Ruth Cook and Hudson Albright are all back. Barfuss played on the varsity squad at the beginning of last season, but a back injury kept her from playing consistently over the season in her guard position. Cook and Albright both contributed to the JV teams last year.
White is also excited to have Courtney Kaufman and Karin Sullivan back. Kaufman, a junior post, subbed onto the varsity team last season, where she used athleticism harnessed by her experience as a varsity lacrosse player to impact the game. White said Kaufman only started playing basketball last season but has already made a place for herself in the small forward or power forward positions.
Sophomore Hannah Varechok will also likely play in a post position after she made significant contributions to the JV team last season.
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As for the newcomers, White said he has been seeing new faces pop up in open-gym play. Many transferred from other schools and will bring experience to the team.
White said that, because Park City High School does not have a fully developed feeder program, getting move-ins who came from areas with junior high programs is a big asset. This year, he has seen a marked increase in such players.
"I'm talking like six to seven move-ins; that just doesn't happen usually," he said, adding that it will bump his roster up to nearly 30 players.
White said two freshmen twins from New Jersey, Ari and Paris Janssen, are at the top of his list of new talent.
"They are both very physical and tough players and skilled as well," he said. "They will definitely be helping our program this year."
Also, Samantha Givich, who moved from Wisconsin, will be a likely addition to the varsity team in the next season or two.
White anticipates having a bench deep enough to support an aggressive, transition- and defense-focused team, similar to the squad he coached three seasons ago. During that season, White said, he had what felt like a complete team, and now he says this season's squad could rival that level of play.
"We have the potential to have one or two (substitutes) at each position, and it seems like it would be possible, when that first group gets tired, to have that second group ready to go," he said.
The Miners will face big challenges early this season when they face several Class 5A and 6A teams before going into region play, but White said a major milestone for the team would be beating Juan Diego, 2015's Class 3A state champion, which he said holds something of a psychological edge over the Miners.
"I think Park City mentally has a tough time in sports with Juan Diego," he said, reasoning that in years past Juan Diego used to dominate the Miners in several sports. "It's just getting over that hump and realizing we are as talented as them and can do the things they do."
The Miners will start their season with an opener against Lehi High School on Nov. 21, when White hopes to get a big crowd to cheer on the potentially successful home team.