PCHS boys’ basketball: Miners stifle Wildcats in victory | ParkRecord.com

PCHS boys’ basketball: Miners stifle Wildcats in victory

Christopher Kamrani, The Park Record

KAMAS — The words shot out of Heath Vincent’s mouth as soon as the question was asked.

"Team defense," said the Park City High School senior guard, who averages more than seven assists and four steals a game. "Every single person is getting their jobs done."

Therein lies the reason for the turnaround of the Miners’ basketball team, winners in four of its last five outings, including Wednesday night’s 52-38 road victory against the South Summit Wildcats in Kamas.

Park City was tenacious defensively as the offense struggled to score points early. The Wildcats scored just six points in the first quarter and five in the second.

Head coach Caleb Fine said it felt good to be above .500 as the Miners moved to 5-4 with the win against their county rival after starting the season 1-3.

"It’s nice," he said. "I’m not used to that ‘under’ thing. Hopefully we’re here to stay — the schedule’s not getting any easier, but at times we’re doing things the right way and if we can continue to improve, we’ll stay above .500."

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The Miners were once again paced offensively by the senior duo of Jono Schettler (20 points, six rebounds, six assists) and Britton Buford (12 points).

Park City jumped out to an early lead thanks to eight first-half points from Buford whose athleticism troubled the undersized Wildcats throughout the evening. In just the second possession of the game, Schettler saw Buford cut open along the baseline and threw a lob from behind the 3-point arc. The 6-foot-4 forward slammed it down with two hands.

"After they got that dunk out of it," said South Summit head coach Dusty Hatch, "our kids kind of withered."

Despite an impressive 11-2 fourth-quarter run by the Wildcats, the Miners were able to safely tuck the win away when senior forward Talon Hester scored a basket, was fouled, and completed the three-point play.

"I’ll take a Christmas break win, but we’ve got to keep moving," Fine said. "I think we played OK.

"This was not the spectator-fun-type game we’ve been having. For me, it’s better, but we really controlled it and took the air out of it at the end."

Other Miners who chipped in were seniors Brae Dilley, who finished with five points, three rebounds and two assists, and Jordan Ruda, who had four points and three rebounds. Hester added six points, four rebounds and two steals off the bench.

Park City found itself in early foul trouble as both Buford and Dilley were called for three fouls in the first half. Fine said his rotation isn’t deep enough for multiple key players to be in foul trouble.

"The guys on the bench came in and stepped it up," Fine said.

Vincent had another characteristic game as he scored five points, dished out eight assists and nabbed a game-high six steals.

"Heath did a really good job defensively tonight," Fine said. "We were expecting Brae to guard their best player, but when he picked up two early fouls, Heath had to go on him and it wasn’t easy for him, and he battled. That was nice to see.

"He is very unselfish and is always looking to get his teammates involved in the game. He just keeps his hands up; he gets so many steals just because his hands are in the way."

Vincent was modest when asked how he leads the team in assists and steals.

"I love dishing the ball to people," he said. "When other people score, I know it’s me setting them up. Steals lead to assists, which I love."

Next up for the Miners is a showdown with Morgan (5-1) at home on Thursday, Dec. 29. Fine said the Trojans have three legitimate scoring threats in Jake Miles (19 points per game), Boston Saunders (14 points per game) and Swish Wiscombe (seven points per game.)

"We’re going to have to defend well," he said. "They’re good. We believe that we’re good, so this will be a really good test. This is the last game before Wasatch."