Miners protect home court
The 2012-13 season has followed a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde story line for the Park City boys’ basketball team.
On the road, the Miners have struggled to an 0-3 region record, suffering lapses defensively and not getting good shots on offense.
At home, Park City plays stifling defense forcing opponents into turnovers and poor shot selection and strong offense, running its set plays well and getting to the free throw line.
That trend continued on Tuesday night when, after two straight road losses, the Miners returned home and defeated a tough Union team 49-39 to improve to 4-0 at home in region play.
Before Tuesday’s game, the Cougars were tied with Judge Memorial atop the Region 10 standings with a 5-1 record. But they simply weren’t able to match the Miners’ home court intensity.
"We defended really well," Park City coach Caleb Fine said. "I really thought we were going to hold them to single digits in the first half."
A couple of open three-point shots at the end of the second quarter gave the Cougars 15 points in the first half.
After allowing the Cougars to take the lead early in the third quarter, the Miners refocused and got their defense back on track.
"After their run in the third, we locked back down," Fine said. "They couldn’t score when we defended with a purpose."
Senior forward Ryan Sherman stepped up his defense after a challenge from the coaching staff. On Jan. 15, when Park City traveled to Union, 6’8" Cougar center Stephen Merrell scored 20 points to lead his team to victory while holding Sherman to just two points.
On Tuesday night, Sherman reversed the roles, exploding for 19 points and holding Merrell to only five points to lead the Miners to the win.
"Tonight I could actually defend him without getting a foul called on me," he said. "So that was nice."
He credited solid guard play for helping him get good looks at the basket on offense.
"We were getting the ball to the post," he said. "I was getting the ball where I could work with it."
Sophomore guard Bosten VanDerVeur contributed 11 points, while senior guard Hayden Daily and junior guard Tom Wood each had seven.
The Miners traveled to Uintah on Friday night, after this issue went to press. They’ll also play at Juan Diego on Feb. 5 before hosting Judge Memorial on Feb. 8 in their final Region 10 game of the year.
Fine said Park City (8-11 overall, 4-3 in Region 10) needs to prove it can win on the road, especially if it wants to secure a playoff spot.
"If we go on the road and lose, we’re in big trouble," he said.
Sherman added that the Miners need to change their approach when playing away from home.
"We just come out with a different mentality at home," he said. "We need to learn how to take it on the road."
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