Miners one basket short of region wins
It was almost as if the basketball gods had conspired against the Park City High School teams on Friday as they both lost to Union by a basket or less. Actually, it was more a lack of offensive rebounding in the first quarter of both games that eventually cost both Miners teams a win. The girls lost by a point, 52-51, and the boys lost by a bucket in a low-scoring contest, 39-37. Unlucky number 19
Union girls basketball is all about its guards, Chrissa Hall and Abby Mecham. So when Union’s Stephanie Petersen lit up the scoreboard with an uncharacteristic 19 points, the Miners were in no way unprepared. Petersen scored most of her points off of offensive boards, with little challenge from the Miners.
"We know better," said Park City assistant coach Matt Mapstone. "We addressed the bad things."
It was also 19 points that the Miners gave up in the first quarter, before they outscored Union the rest of the game.
"We gave up 19 in the first quarter and in the second half we gave up only 20. We beat them three out of four quarters," Mapstone said.
The Miners were down two points with 40 seconds left in the game, when Union made one of two free throws. Park City senior Liz Bailey was fouled on a three-point attempt on the ensuing possession and went to the line to try to even the score. She missed the first free throw and the Miners were unable to grab the offensive rebound.
"She [Bailey] felt horrible, but she’s who we want shooting the ball," Mapstone said.
Bailey finished the night with 12 points. Fellow senior Kim Mackaben turned in a team-leading 13 points and Carissa Fine had 11 points, including a three-pointer.
The Miners were without the inside presence of Nicole Bishop, a six-foot three-inch freshman, who likely would have made a difference in rebounding. Mapstone says that Bishop will return this week, after missing a week with breathing problems. Also noticeably missing was freshman Aundrea Hargroder, who is scheduled to return in Friday’s home game against Wasatch after missing a few weeks with a hip injury.
"We miss our freshmen," Mapstone said.
The Miners are now 0-1 in a Region 10 that is so competitive this year that any team could conceivably challenge for the 3A State title.
"The bad thing is, right now, we’re on the outside looking in," Mapstone said.
Park City has an opportunity to quickly bounce back with two region games, against Morgan on Tuesday and Wasatch on Friday.
"Wasatch will be a must-win," Mapstone said.
Both the boys and girls teams played to a sizable Union crowd that both coaches said helped motivate their teams. Mapstone hopes that as the Miners begin winning in region, the Park City crowds will also start coming out.
"We need a bigger crowd and winning will do that," Mapstone said.
The Miners will host Wasatch at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13 in the Park City High School auxiliary gym. Five-point folly
Mirroring the girls, the boys were outscored by Union in the first quarter. The Miners scored the first two baskets and soon became relaxed, allowing Union to dominate on the boards and gain a five-point lead, 13-8, in the first quarter.
"We played a very soft quarter," Miners head coach Troy Buford said. "Our kids quit playing and they [Union] got the rebounds."
As the Miners became less aggressive, Buford became angrier, threatening that he would not coach until the team became more physical. The Miners gave up 13 offensive rebounds, which Union converted to 7 points in the first quarter.
"Those guys saw how angry I was and it rubbed off and we played physical the rest of the game," Buford said.
The Miners rebounded well the rest of the game, but the five points were critical. With seconds left in the game, the Miners were tied with Union at 37 points, when Park City’s Tyler Smith was fouled. Smith could not convert the shots. Union scored two more points, which forced the Miners into a three-point shot for the win. Brandon Buford, Brady Ewell and Wil Christensen all tried for threes in rapid succession, but those same basketball gods seems to knock the ball back out every time and the Miners lost 37-39.
"When we play good teams every night, you can’t spot them five points," Buford said.
A bright spot for the Miners in the loss was only nine turnovers, a key change from their high turnover ratio in the preseason.
Still frustrating, though, is the fact that ,he Miners can’t seem to win in close games. The Miners are now 1-10 on the season, losing most games by six points or less or in overtime.
"The guys are coming along. They just have to stay physical and score about 10 more points or higher," Buford said.
The boys will also play Morgan and Wasatch this week. The Wasatch game will be held on Friday in the Park City main gym at 7 p.m.
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