Park City girls grab first wins of year
Park City High School girls basketball head coach Matt Mapstone has the fourth-quarter score of his team’s first game against Cottonwood written on a board in their team room 31-12.
It was in that game that the Miners gave up a decisive lead and lost, leading to a four-game skid to start the season. It’s a painful reminder of what can happen and Mapstone wants that reminder to stay in the girls’ heads.
With that in mind, the Miners were able to start turning things around on Tuesday night, beating the Ben Lomond Scots decisively, 54-21.
"We played very, very well," Mapstone said. "It was time to stop the losing. You could see it in their eye."
Many factors played into the four losses, including a nagging illness sidelining their star six-foot five-inch center Nicole Bishop, and other key players missing due to injury. Mapstone also has a wide variety of players to bring together as a cohesive team — from two seasoned veterans in Bishop and forward Lauren Deane to a group of underclassman who boast talent and promise but are still building varsity experience.
"We’re going to go through growing pains," Mapstone said.
One of the talented underclassman is Bethany Kanten, who scored eight points for the Miners against Ben Lomond and went 2-for-2 at the free throw line.
"What a huge force," Mapstone said. "She’s quite an athlete."
Still, with region rivals like Wasatch and Judge boasting teams full of varsity experience, the Miners are getting a quick lesson on keeping up.
"We’re learning the steps necessary to become better," Mapstone said.
Right now that means demanding that the girls stay focused on each game and, after their first win, Mapstone is feeling a lot more confident.
"I like where we are going so far," he said.
Against Ben Lomond the Miners shot out to a big lead in the first quarter scoring 21 points to the Scots’ five. The girls continued the score consistently throughout the game while holding Ben Lomond under six points in all four quarters.
The Miners were lead by Deane who had 25 points and 9 assists.
"It could be the best all-around game I’ve seen her play," Mapstone said.
Defensively, Bishop had 13 blocks, with a bit of a mismatch at the post position, playing against Ben Lomond’s five-foot 10-inch center.
"They would throw it to their post and Nicole would knock it away," Mapstone said. "It was almost funny to watch."
Mapstone is hoping the win is something the girls can continue to build on. He said the Ben Lomond victory came not a moment too soon.
"It was a bigger game than I let them know," he said. "It was a must win."
However, he suspects that the girls were well aware of how important winning was. He said they looked a little angry heading into the game.
"The kids knew if they lost, it would be a hard hole to dig out of," Mapstone said. "We got a little momentum."
The momentum from the Ben Lomond win must continue as the girls prepare for a road trip to New Mexico next weekend where they will face the class 4A and 5A leaders there. On Thursday, they stayed on track, beating North Sanpete 48-46.
Before they leave for New Mexico, the Miners will hit the road to face Bear River on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.
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