PCHS boys’ basketball: Miners shocked on senior night
Senior Britton Buford pushed the ball up the floor, searching frantically for a way to tie the game. Two Juan Diego Soaring Eagle defenders suddenly collapsed around the 6-foot-4 guard, but he still found fellow senior teammate Jono Schettler in the corner, right in front of the Park City High School bench.
Juan Diego shifted quickly to Schettler as the guard waited for a chance to let loose. He took a brief step forward and launched his 3-point attempt. The shot, hurried to beat the dwindling clock, fell short of the hoop.
A young Soaring Eagle team came into Park City’s house Tuesday and stole one away from the Miners, 53-50.
And to put salt in the wound, it was Park City’s senior night — dedicated to a group of nine seniors who have helped lift Miner basketball from the floormat up.
"You’re saying goodbye to kids who have done a lot for this program," said head coach Caleb Fine. "I feel blessed to have walked into a situation with a lot of talent.
"We’ve had winning seasons with these guys — this is the third year in a row — and there are a lot more fans out to games, and that’s a credit to the kids and their abilities."
But there was no sugar-coating this loss to a less-experienced Juan Diego squad that started just one senior. Soaring Eagle freshman guard Gabe Colosimo had a game-high 16 points, including two crucial 3-point shots. Colosimo also drained two free throws with 8.7 seconds remaining to up the Juan Diego lead to 53-50, forcing Park City’s last-ditch 3-point attempt.
Fine said Juan Diego came into Tuesday night’s game with a gameplan and had revenge rightly in mind after the Miners dismantled the Soaring Eagle 65-46 on Jan. 17 in Draper. For 32 minutes, the young Juan Diego squad pressured Park City defensively, using ball pressure to forcing turnovers and knocking the Miners out of their comfort zone.
"To Juan Diego’s credit," Fine said, "they were more hungry."
That point was apparent as the Soaring Eagle started the game on a 9-2 run and took a 27-24 lead into halftime. After the half, Juan Diego didn’t stop pressuring the Miners, starting the third quarter on a 13-4 run.
"It’s hard to pinpoint why we struggled to play with a sense of urgency we had in the last two games," Fine said. "I don’t have a great answer. I was surprised.
"We were not able to get the stops we needed throughout the course of the whole game."
Park City fought back as it knows how to do, eventually trimming the Juan Diego lead to two, 50-48, with 54 seconds remaining. The Soaring Eagle went 3-of-5 from the free-throw line in the last minute, giving the Miners a shot to tie or take the lead, but the lack of an outside shooting threat hurt Park City once again.
Senior forward Jordan Ruda missed a 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining. After Juan Diego tacked another point onto its lead, 51-48, Buford missed two 3-point attempts on Park City’s next possession, before being fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound. The senior drilled both free throws, but Colosimo added two of his own with 8.7 remaining.
After Schettler’s desperation 3-point attempt fell short, the young Juan Diego squad celebrated only its third Region 10 victory. Schettler and Buford led Park City, scoring 14 points apiece, while fellow seniors Brae Dilley (eight points), Ruda (seven points), Heath Vincent (four points) and Talon Hester (three points) rounded out the scoring for Park City Tuesday night.
"My boys had a sense of urgency in the last four minutes of the game, which they always have," Fine said. "You love that, but the problem is, it drives you nuts.
"We were lethargic and when we play lethargic basketball, we’ll lose to inferior basketball teams."
Park City, 11-9 overall and 5-4 in Region 10 play, faced Region 10 champions Judge Memorial in its final region battle of the regular season Friday after this edition went to press.
Fine reiterated that the season is nowhere near over as the Miners are essentially locked in as the No. 3 seed coming out of Region 10. He said Park City’s matchup against either Cedar or Hurricane won’t be settled until next Wednesday, when Region 9 wraps up its regular season. He said the senior-night loss will sting for some time, but there’s no time to hang heads as the postseason is knocking at the door.
"We’re locked into a playoff spot," he said. "We’re going to be on the road, we’re not the favorites — but I still believe."
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