Miners’ road trips lead to missed results
This weekend, the Park City High School basketball teams headed in two different directions, but with the same intentions of winning. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but both teams returned with better perspective and focus as they head toward the end of the preseason. The girls traveled north to Tremonton for the Bear River Tournament. They were met with freezing weather and three tough teams. The first night, the Miners succumbed to Riverton, but headed into Friday’s competition against Roy with their sights set on victory, and won 52-41. The team was lead by the Miners’ scoring machine, senior Liz Bailey, with 24 points. Bailey was the leading scorer among all juniors in 3A last year. The Miners and Roy kept things close until the fourth quarter, when Park City was able to break the game open with a scoring frenzy. Fellow senior Carissa Fine had eight points for the night. With a win under their belts, the Miners took on Weber on Saturday, expecting to grab another win. A lack of energy and production put a quick stop to that assumption as Park City lost 51-24. "We were disappointed in our effort," said assistant coach Matt Mapstone. The Miners were so flat that the varsity team was pulled with six minutes left in the game and the junior varsity took over. "They were just flat. They had an off night," Mapstone said. "It was disappointing because we thought we could win that game, but that’s what the preseason is for." Mapstone said that both head coach Steve Crandall and he were pleased with the spark that the junior varsity players provided, but it was too little, too late to regain control of the game. "They mopped up for us," Mapstone said. "It was a disappointing night in general, but exciting to see them out there." Mapstone said that the biggest concern on Saturday was that the team looked both tired and uninterested. On paper, Park City may have one of the most talented girls squads in decades and the coaching staff is hoping that the girls can find team cohesiveness and the desire to "rally" even when they are tired. "This is the best team we’ve ever had, so we expect more out of them, especially emotionally," Mapstone said. "The first two games went as planned, but we need to stop what happened in the third right away." The team boasts a strong senior class as well talented underclassmen, including two freshmen on the varsity team, Nicole Bishop and Aundrea Hargroder. Bishop says that the key in the preseason is for the team to learn how to work together. "When we all play with fire in our eyes, we’re hard to beat. Saturday, we only had fire two to three minutes at a time," Mapstone said. "If we can get that together for 32 minutes, it will be fun to watch." Besides cohesion, the team also had other challenges to deal with at the Bear River Tournament. They were not scheduled to play a home game until this week, and they were playing without the services of Hargroder at the point guard position, who was resting with a hip injury from the South Summit game last week. "We’re 3-3 and we’ve had no home games," Mapstone said. "We’re getting tested on the road." The team is scheduled to play Juan Diego on Tuesday night in their first home game and then have a few days to prepare for their southern swing, where they face Dixie and Cedar City on the road. Mapstone is hoping to help the team develop more focus during the trip. "As we travel, we have a lot of fun. We need to be more business-like on the road. So we will see if we can do that this week," Mapstone said. "We can have a ton of fun and still be business-like. We need to think long before we throw the ball up." Boys The boys failed to get their first win at the Coal Country Classic at Emery over the weekend, but showed promise. Against Emery, things were looking favorable for the Miners. They were down by just four in the third and were effectively containing their six-foot, six-inch and six-foot seven-inch players. Then Emery’s diminutive five-foot, seven-inch point guard got the hot hand hitting two three pointers in the third quarter and three more in the fourth quarter. "When you are undersized like us, you have to leave someone open and unfortunately, he made us pay," said Miners head coach Troy Buford. The Miners also struggled with another cold shooting night, finishing at only 31 percent. Leading scorer Brandon Buford finished the night going 6-19 in shooting with 17 points, much less than his usual average. Scott Case hit three three-point shots in the first quarter and finished with 11 points. Brady Ewell contributed 15 points, but went 6-18 in his shooting percentage. The Miners were also missing key plays Oliver water, Wil Christensen and Tyler Smith who took their SATs on Saturday morning and joined the team later in the afternoon. "I was proud of the kids," Buford said. "We were undersized, but made a game out of it." On Saturday, the Miners played a stronger game, but still lost to Snow Canyon, 71-60. The Miners were leading by six points at the half, and still had the two-point edge at the end of the third quarter. Park City then went down by a few points at the end of the game and had to give up points to Snow Canyon at the free throw line in order to get the ball back. "We knew what we were up against. We should have played better in the fourth," Buford said. At this point, Buford is hoping to get a few wins for the Miners so they can start believing in themselves. He says that his upperclassman have the energy and confidence in their abilities, but much of the team has never been a part of a winning program and lacks the belief in their abilities. "They need to get over that hurdle," Buford said, "Once that happens, we’ll start winning games. We are a lot better than our record. We have a lot of heart and our seniors are stepping up." The Miners were scheduled to play Juan Diego on Tuesday night after presstime.
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Thanks to COVID-19 cutting into visitation numbers, Park City’s seasonal workforce is sufficient. In any other winter, “the hiring situation would be dire.”