Miners’ last games of year losing ones
The Park City Miners basketball teams are ready for the new year. After dropping their Friday night games last week, they are ready to go "out with the old and in with the new." In a home game against Logan, the boys lost 74-64 in a road game against Carbon and the girls suffered a difficult 56-34 loss. So close, yet so far away Friday’s game against the Carbon Dinos was a roller coaster of emotions for the Miners. The night began with exhilaration as the Miners stormed out of the gate at Carbon making a 17-4 run in the first quarter. Carbon eventually fired back on defense, but the Miners managed to lead at the end of every quarter up until the fourth. Part of Park City’s offensive edge came from explosiveness of Wil Christensen on the offensive end. Taking advantage of a mismatch, as the Dinos double-teamed Brandon Buford, Christensen continually made shots inside, and finished the night with 22 points. The Miners only went down late in the fourth quarter, but spirits were soon lifted as Brandon Buford hit a crucial three-pointer with 18 seconds left. Down by one, the Miners fouled the Dinos on the ensuing possession. Carbon only made one of their two free throws, and again Buford came up big for the Miners scoring a two point shot as the final buzzer sounded. Tied at 56 going into the overtime, the Miners committed three turnovers and finally succumbed to the Dinos 74-64, making their final emotion one of severe disappointment. Added to that was the feeling by head coach Troy Buford that the Miners had fallen victim to a mix of bad officiating and poor scoreboard management. "I would say it was low. We deserved to win. We won that game and it was taken from us," Buford said. Buford and his staff reviewed tape on Monday to see if a scoreboard error meant that the Miners had actually won the game in regulation. No update as to the outcome or any ensuing reaction from Park City had been reported by presstime. Another source of frustration for the Miners came from the turnovers that cost them the game. The Miners average about 15 turnovers per game, and Coach Buford wants to see that number go down to 11 or 12. In the last three out of their four games, the Miners have out rebounded their opponent but have also turned over the ball more. "If we can cut down on turnovers that’s what prevents us from winning," Buford said. The Miners will have one more opportunity to notch another season win when they play Ogden on the road at 7 p.m. They start region play at Union on Friday at 7 p.m.
Running on half a tank The Miners girls’ squad was faced with a difficult game situation before ever setting a foot on the court. The Miners were forced to play the Logan Grizzlies and were plagued with a laundry list of issues that depleted much of their varsity squad. Freshman point guard Aundrea Hargroder sat the preseason game out with a lingering hamstring injury in order to be ready for region play. Carissa Fine was on vacation and Ali Tingey was absent with a bout of the flu. Once the Miners were on the court, Park City’s key inside presence, six-foot three-inch Nicole Bishop, began to become mysteriously winded, further challenging Park City. The Miners’ varsity starters that were left also had their struggles. Liz Bailey, Park City’s leading scorer on the season, struggled from the field with only nine points. Senior co-caption, Kim Mackaben could only do slightly better with 12 points. The Miners managed to stay in the game with a combination of man-to-man and zone defense, but Logan’s Michelle Hoffman managed to hit five three-pointers, putting the Miners in a deficit they couldn’t over come. The rest of the Grizzlies also contributed offensively, finally wearing the Miners out.
"They just shot the ball real well, said Miners assistant coach Matt Mapstone.
Playing with just six varsity players, Park City was eventually forced to finish with the junior varsity team down by double digits, and lost, 56-34.
The game was not only the last matchup of the year, but also of the preseason for Park City. Mapstone said that the brutal loss was difficult for the team, but not surprising with all of the absentee contributors.
"We thought they played hard and did as well as they could," Mapstone said. "We hate to lose, but we have bigger fish to fry right now."
The aforementioned "fish" is Region 10 play, which starts this week. The Miners plan to focus the rest of the week on getting the team healthy and mentally preparing for region play. Both the girls and the boys open the regular season on Friday on the road against Union. Mapstone is not sure when Hargroder will return, but expects Fine and Tingey to play. Bishop’s breathing difficulties continued throughout the weekend, so the team is awaiting a doctor’s assessment before clearing her to play gain. Luckily, for the Miners, Union is a smaller team that features two standout guards. They boast an 8-2 record heading into league play, but Mapstone expects the girls to be ready. The team held a meeting on Monday and covered the Miners’ need to be mentally strong against a schedule full of strong, talented teams. "We could win or lose every game. It’s up to the kids," Mapstone said. "All six teams could beat any team on any night. We have to focus and grow up a little and we’ll be right there." The Miners play Friday night at Union at 7 p.m.
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