PCHS boys’ basketball: Thriller gets away from the Miners
November 23, 2012
Sophomore point guard Bosten VanDerVeur weaved his way through the open court, snaked around a couple Payson defenders and found junior forward Konnor Andersen behind the arc, alone in the corner directly in front of the Park City bench.
Andersen set his feet and let the ball fly. The shot kissed off the right side of the rim, bounced near the top of the backboard and came down, clanking off the rim two more times before falling through the net.
The Miner crowd went bonkers. A team that had just two players with previous varsity experience was suddenly up six on visiting Payson, a 2011-12 3A semifinalist, with 5:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It would have been a dream start to the 2012-13 season for a Park City team that features an entirely new starting five, including two sophomores, but the Lions had other plans. The visitors slowly chipped away, hitting clutch jump shots and free throws and enforcing a press defense that proved to be the difference.
The young Miners turned the ball over three times in the final 90 seconds and Payson escaped the Park City High School gym with a 43-42 victory Tuesday night.
"They (the Miners) competed and they played hard," said head coach Caleb Fine. "That one stings a little bit because I really thought we outplayed them in the second half, and then, in a minute-and-a-half, we couldn’t get it done."
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Down 42-39 with 1:37 remaining, Payson slowed the game down and was able to score from the free-throw line with the clock stopped. After a Lion went 1-for-2 at the line with 44 seconds remaining, Park City sophomores Sam Kingdon and VanDerVeur had a miscommunication in their attempt to break the Payson press and turned the ball over.
The Park City defense held strong for 22 seconds, but Payson forward Jacob Wright hit a jumper with six seconds remaining. With the score knotted 42-42, the Miners had six seconds to earn a hard-fought win in front of their home crowd. However, on the inbounds pass, Park City turned the ball over. Payson guard Daniel Reno, who scored a game-high 21 points and hit five 3-pointers, was fouled and stepped to the line in the double bonus.
Reno clanked the first but sank the second, giving the Lions a 43-42 lead. The Miners had 4.6 seconds to launch a desperation shot, but as VanDerVeur approached midcourt, he collided with a Payson player.
No foul was called as Fine and the Miner faithful threw up their arms in disbelief.
"We don’t have much varsity experience and it would have been nice to show the fans that we’re here and we’re good," said senior forward Ryan Sherman. "People are doubting us this year, but we showed we could stay with a semifinal team.
"We’ve got to learn to finish. We’re young. It’s hard being in those situations and knowing what to do."
Fine said that, with such a green group, the coaching staff wasn’t able to put the players through enough late-game scenarios leading up to the season-opener.
"It’s my responsibility to make sure we’re prepared at the end of the game — we failed miserably," he said. "We couldn’t get the ball in. Our youth showed quite a bit, as well as our lack of experience."
However, there were some positives in the game, none more apparent than Park City’s dominance on the boards. The Miners outrebounded the Lions 41-23 in what Fine called "one of the best rebounding efforts I’ve ever seen."
Sherman, who led the Miners with 13 points, led the charge on the glass, along with Kingdon, Brandon Olsen, Hayden Daily and Andersen.
Going forward, Park City showed it will not play intimidated. The Miners played tenaciously, but to stay in games, they’ll need to hit open shots, which they struggled to do against the Lions Tuesday night. Andersen’s 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter was the only one made by the Miners from beyond the arc.
"They’re going to make those a fair amount of the time," Fine said. "They didn’t go in tonight."
Fine said the Miners struggled to get into their offensive sets due to inexperience, the closeness of the game and the defensive pressure put on by the Lions.
"The story of the game offensively is we stunk," he said. "We got good looks to the right people in the right times, but we didn’t do it in our offense ever. That’s got to be fixed."
In their varsity debuts, Kingdon (10 points) and VanDerVeur (eight points) played well, but Fine said the youngsters — and the team in its entirety — will need to learn from their mistakes if Park City wants to survive a grueling preseason. Of the next 13 games, the Miners only have three at home. The Miners face 4A Springville on the road Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"You want this group to get a win and get confident," Fine said. "They showed they can compete, but now we have to find a way to win."