Snow falls, but shots do not
As things turned colder in Park City on Saturday, the Miners followed suit with a cold shooting night that cost them a win against Springville, 55-42.
"We did everything we needed to do, but we just couldn’t find a shot," head coach Troy Buford said.
The Miners shot only 26 percent for the night, a sharp decrease from the 38 percent they had against North Sanpete in their first game of the season.
"Had we shot that percentage , we’d have won against Springville," Buford said.
The Miners still managed to a have a very successful night on defense. Buford gave the team three goals to start out the game talk on defense, out rebound the opponent and defend the other team.
"We did all three of them," Buford said. "I told them if they play defense the way they did, we would win a lot of basketball games this season."
The Miners out rebounded the Red Devils 36 percent to 29 percent and effectively shut down their leading scorer, Preston Eaton, who scored only 13 points. The Miners even beat the Red Devils on the offensive boards.
"I know we played good defense and out rebounded them," Buford said. "I thought if we aced those, we’d win, but that’s assuming we were shooting well."
Leading scorers Brandon Buford, Scott Case and Brady Ewell all struggled to find shots. Buford still finished with a game-leading 20 points, but shot at only 33 percent as opposed to his 40 percent night at North Sanpete. Case started the night with a three-pointer and never scored again. Ewell never even made it onto the scoreboard. Generally a solid 10-point-a-night shooter, Ewell couln’t seem to score.
"Our offense got open shots, but we couldn’t get the lid off the rim." Buford said.
Springville, on the other hand, seemed to make the shots when they needed to, leading a very balanced scoring attack against the Miners. B.J. Smith, who had not scored previously in the season, made three three-point shots and finished the night with 10 points. Four other Red Devils also scored over seven points for the evening, keeping Springville scoring in double digits in all four quarters.
Buford, though, said he was pleased with the Miners’ defensive effort and hoped that the scoring issues were just symptomatic of an off night.
"They knew they had trouble, but they controlled, what they could control," he said.
The Miners will have the opportunity to bounce back quickly with a full slate of games scheduled this week, starting with West High School on Tuesday followed by Logan on Wednesday and Emery and Snow Canyon at the Coal Country Classic Tournament over the weekend.
Park City faced both West and Logan last year, so they know how to prepare. West boasts six-foot three-inch Nate Mensah at the point guard position, so will key in on trying to shut him down. The challenge with Logan comes from their unique half-court defense that triple teams opponents out of the trap.
"They give up everything to get the trap," Buford said. "If you beat them, then you can get the shot, but you have to get out it [the trap]."
Last year, the Logan game was the first game of the season for the Miners and the first game as head coach for Buford, so this year should mean more experience for the Miners against the Grizzlies.
Buford says that the Miners generally spend a good portion of their practice time on defense, but will also focus on getting their shot percentage back up to the 40 percent range and will use their athleticism to get easy shots out of transition.
"These guys have a lot of fire, energy and leadership and I’m confident they will have a good season because of it," Buford said. "They want it really bad."
The Miners host Logan on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Park City High School gymnasium. They will play at the Coal Country Classic Tournament, Dec. 9-10. They face Emery on Friday at 5:30 p.m., and Snow Canyon at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, followed by another game against Emery at 7 p.m.
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