Miners return to hoops fundamentals
The girls on the Park City High School basketball team got a taste of victory last year and they liked it. After setting a school record for five consecutive wins during their regular season, the girls are dedicated to working hard for an even more successful season next year.
The Miners’ spring training included a three-day clinic with Phil Griego, a personal friend of coach Matt Mapstone and the head coach at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, N.M. Griego knows his basketball; he led the St. Pius X girls to a state championship this year.
Last December, the Park City girls’ team flew to Albuquerque to play against St. Pius X. Even though they lost, they gained the experience of traveling together and playing a state champion team.
"You know, the game was a little anticlimactic because we really had an exceptional team last year and Matt was just starting out with his girls," Griego said. But what he liked about the Miners was that "they battled the entire time and they played hard. And they really had an interest in getting better and developing as a group."
"That was really what formed an opinion in my head about what kinds of kids there were at Park City and the integrity of the kids."
The clinics were held last Thursday and Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, May 1-3. The Miners were then able to put their skills into action during the local Spring Fling tournament, playing two games after Thursday’s clinic and two games on Saturday.
"I really wanted to take things back to fundamentals," Griego said, after reviewing film of the Miners’ game against St. Pius X and speaking with Mapstone.
The girls learned everything from passing to jump stopping. And sophomore point guard Sarah Kubicki said she also learned about the mental side of the game from Griego, like how to bounce back from a mistake, be a leader as a point guard and work together as a team.
Kubicki said the clinic helped her gain "a better understanding of the game and what each player has to bring to the game."
Even though a lot of what the girls worked on were "little, minor things," Kubicki said it made a big difference, as the girls improved drastically in just a few days.
"Honestly, this clinic has, like, turned our team around," Kubicki said.
The coaches agreed that there was a noticeable different from their games on Thursday to their games on Saturday.
"[We] focused on real fundamental principles offensively and defensively and the girls took to it real well. I was impressed. It’s hard transferring from skill and drill work to an actual game, and I thought the girls did a great job," Griego said.
But the girls weren’t the only ones learning from the clinic. Mapstone, who worked on Griego’s staff in New Mexico, went into the experience with an open mind something rare for many coaches.
"We have to be willing to learn, too, and a lot of coaches’ egos won’t allow it," Mapstone said.
Griego also helped Mapstone coach the girls’ Spring Fling games. Mapstone said he gave the whiteboard to Griego and let him coach the time outs, giving Mapstone the opportunity to learn from Griego in a game situation.
At the end of last season, Kubicki and some of the girls went to the state championships and watched as Wasatch prevailed over Judge to win the state title. She recalled how the Miners "held with Judge" when they faced off, and realized they had the potential to win state, too.
"We thought we did pretty good [this year]. But next year, we want to do a lot better than that. Hopefully, with all this work we can," Kubicki said.
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