PCHS boys’ basketball: Skyline shocks Miners at the buzzer
December 2, 2011
Once the ball passed cleanly through the net, senior guard Jono Schettler turned around, untucked his jersey and placed both hands on his head in utter disbelief.
The Park City High School boys’ basketball team had just suffered a heart-wrenching, buzzer-beater loss as visiting 4A Skyline escaped Park City High School with a thrilling 55-53 victory Tuesday evening.
The Eagles finished off the game on a 10-3 run, thanks in large part to the fourth-quarter heroics of junior forward Garrett England, who made three 3-pointers in the period and sealed the victory for his team when he pushed in an inbounds lob pass with 1.5 seconds remaining.
"That last play, we just got too excited and left one guy open," said senior forward Jordan Ruda, shaking his head. "We just got all nervous, and left a guy wide open."
In what was a great battle between two talented fast-break teams, Schettler finished with a game-high 23 points. The senior guard couldn’t be stopped in the first half, scoring 16 points, and tied the game up at 53-53 with an acrobatic lay in with 5.4 seconds left.
"Jono Schettler had a heck of a basketball game," said Park City head coach Caleb Fine.
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The Miners were able to overcome an early and sloppy start to the game. They were behind 17-8 after one quarter and down 24-12 with five minutes left in the second quarter. That’s when Schettler ignited a 15-0 run to finish the quarter as the Miners took a 27-24 lead into halftime.
After taking a 40-34 lead into the fourth quarter, the Miners jumped out to a 10-point lead with less than seven minutes remaining thanks to two steals from senior point guard Heath Vincent.
But once England checked in, he began his assault from behind the arc.
The Eagles’ junior immediately nailed a 3-point shot to cut the Miner lead to seven. But Park City rallied once again to take a 50-43 lead with 2:50 left after Ruda hit two free throws.
Then Miller, who pestered the Park City defense throughout the night with his elusive speed, drove through the lane and brought Skyline to within five with 1:41 left. When Park City turned the ball over twice, England hit back-to-back 3-point shots, giving Skyline a 51-50 lead with less than a minute left.
"We’ve got to get better at taking care of the ball," Fine said. "Hindsight is 20-20; I wish we would have attacked a little bit more. I didn’t think we were going to turn it over or else I wouldn’t have called a stall. But we did turn it over."
Miller was whistled for a foul on Vincent, who went 1-for-2 from the free throw line, knotting things up at 51-51. Moments later, the pesky Skyline point guard was the beneficiary of a controversial call with 14.4 seconds left, as he was fouled by Vincent, which referees said was in the act of shooting. He sunk both free throws before Schettler made his acrobatic lay in to tie the score at 53-53.
"Ultimately, what happened was exactly what we told them not to happen: Don’t get screened and if you do, switch it, but the switch didn’t happen," said Fine of Skyline’s buzzer-beater playcall. "Great coaching on their behalf and we didn’t execute defensively the way we needed to a pretty painful way to lose."
Senior forward Britton Buford finished with 12 points, while Vincent finished with six. Seniors Brae Dilley, Talon Hester and Ruda finished with four points apiece.
A dejected Fine said the coaching staff will go back to the drawing board to address protecting leads late in the game.
"Anytime you blow a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, (the coaching staff) has to make adjustments," he said. "I’m not thrilled with the way I coached it tonight, but I’m proud of the guys coming back."
Next up for the 1-1 Miners is a trip to the 2A/3A Season Preview Tournament in Richfield, where they will face the No. 1-ranked team in 3A, the Desert Hills Thunder.
Ruda said the loss to Skyline was a bitter one, but added that the focus immediately turned to this weekend.
"We’ve already forgotten about it," he said. "We’re just ready to get back to work."
"If we can’t get up for the No. 1 team in 3A, we’re not going to be able to get up for much," Fine added. "Any time a team is a favorite to win, and you get to play them, you get to know where you stand. We lose the game, we move on; we win the game, we move on. Our goals don’t end in the preseason. I’m not here to win preseason games; I’m here to win games later on."