Miners lose to state’s top team, 73-48
For two and half quarters, the Miners were able to keep up with the state’s best boys basketball team. That wasn’t enough to stop the Judge Bulldogs from beating them soundly, 73-48, but it was still an accomplishment.
"I think we had Hollingsworth figured out a bit," said Park City head coach Matt Nagel.
That would be six-foot eight-inch powerhouse Noel Hollingsworth who has been dominating rival defenses with his immense size all season. In the first half, the Miners were able to keep him off of the boards to rebound and held him under 10 points. They were also able to keep the Bulldogs’ speedy guard Jaxon Myaer out of the paint, forcing him to take all of his shots from the outside.
"We did well," Nagel said. "Searle Vincent can defend a guy like that."
In fact, the Miners seemed to be shocking everyone but themselves in the first half, trailing the defending 3A state champions just 33-27 at the half with smart plays and consistent scoring from starters Scott Case and Lucas Tucker. Case would finish the night with 15 points and Tucker 14.
Eventually, the Miners’ good play and good fortune began to run out in the third quarter. The Bulldogs began pressing Park City and the Miners’ offense sputtered. Judge fired away 21 points at the start of the third quarter before Park City got on the scoreboard with two foul shots by Case at the three-minute mark. The Miners also seemed content to shoot outside shots, rather than driving to the basket as they had in the first half.
"It’s offense," said a frustrated Nagel. "We’re offensively flustered and it’s not just because it’s Judge. We talked all week about taking it to them and then shot three pointers. That’s not taking it too them."
the fourth quarter the Miners started scoring again, but began to run out of gas as time clicked away. Nagel keep his starting five on the floor for most of the game, while Judge’s deep bench kept subbing in players with fresh legs.
In the end, Hollingsworth and Myaer both turned in big number nights with 25 and 22 points, respectively, and the Miners lost 73-48.
"We played this game, lost it and learned from it," Nagel said. "I think we take from this game that we can play against a playoff team."
Nagel hopes that the effort he saw in the Judge matchup will continue this week as they face Union for the second time this season. In the last meeting, they lost in the second half, but Nagel feels that his team finally has the confidence and skills to avoid a similar fate this time around.
"We have a lot of confidence going in," Nagel said.
The Miners will travel to face Union on Friday at 7 p.m.
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