Turnovers plague Miners vs. Morgan
If it’s not one thing, it’s another for the two Miners basketball teams both struggling to get their first wins in Region 10 play. After effectively addressing a poor rebounding night at Union last week, both teams committed numerous turnovers that resulted in loses for both the girls and the boys. If only games were one quarter shorter
The Park City boys have struggled at all different times. At the beginning of the season, it was the fourth quarter. In the last game, it was the first quarter. And on Tuesday night against Morgan, it was the third quarter. After leading the Trojans for most of the first half, the Miners came out in the third and allowed Morgan to go on a 20-0 run, which all but decided the 72-55 win.
"It’s always in them. It’s getting them to play four quarters," said a frustrated Troy Buford, the Miners head coach.
Turnovers were also a problem. The Miners had 10 turnovers in each half. The disciplined Trojans had only six.
"We gave them 14 extra possessions," Buford said. "That’s a potential 28 points. They scored half of that and we lost by 15."
For the Miners it has been an ongoing battle to have a complete game. They addressed the rebounding woes of the Union game, out-rebounding the Trojans 22-44, only to struggle with turnovers. Buford said that it feels like that there has been a different issue to address in each game.
"We’re like the ‘whack-a-mole’ team. If we ever put it together consistently ," Buford said.
The Miners started out the game impressively. They shot out to the early lead, ahead 21-17 at the end of the first quarter. But Morgan’s controlled style allowed them to get back in the game as Park City continued to turn over the ball.
In the third quarter, as the Trojans launched a scoring attack, the Miners started to lose focus, scoring only five points in the entire quarter. They also lost the presence of scoring machine Brandon Buford, who sat out much of the quarter in foul trouble.
"If we could kiss off the third quarter, we would have won," Buford said.
They came back to score 18 in the final quarter, but by then the Trojans were too far ahead.
Brandon Buford still managed to score a career-high 38 points and also added 10 rebounds in the loss.
The Miners have now backed themselves into a must-win situation in region play. Buford says that if they win the game on Friday against Wasatch, and the next game against Uintah, they may still have a chance at a spot in the playoffs.
"We may win another random one, but we can’t lose those," Buford said.
The intensity is also felt among the players. After the Morgan loss, some of the starting players expressed frustration that the whole team wasn’t contributing.
"Guys were mad at guys that didn’t put out," Buford said.
The Miners will try to put themselves back in the win column on Tuesday, Jan. 17 when they take on Uintah at 7 p.m.
Wanting to win too much?
Prior to Tuesday night’s game against Morgan, seniors Liz Bailey, Kim Mackaben and Carissa Fine felt something different. Following a three-game losing streak, they felt absolutely certain they would win against Morgan that night.
Unfortunately, as they hit the floor, their passion turned to anxiety and the will to win almost overwhelmed them, as the Miners lost by a healthy margin, 57-41.
"I think we just got ahead of ourselves," Mackaben said. "We were trying to make a great pass instead of an easy one. We were trying to score five points instead of two."
Much of the tension displayed itself in poor passing. The Miners had 17 turnovers in the first half and 13 in the second. According to Miners assistant coach Matt Mapstone, the Miners actually appeared to be outplaying the Trojans, but the constant turnovers kept the Miners from scoring.
"We were playing as hard as we possibly could, but turnovers got us," Mackaben said.
Forcing turnovers is actually one of Morgan’s specialties. The Trojan’s pressure forces turnovers and they score off of many of those opportunities. As Morgan continues to score, it becomes harder to come back. Mapstone says that Park City has the ability to break that press, but for some reason struggled Tuesday night.
"We were our own worst enemy," Mapstone said. "They’re beatable, but Morgan is a difficult team to try and get back on track against. When they got up, we could have come back, but you don’t get a break."
Another problem was the Trojan’s Cami Johnson, a 5-foot 7- inch guard who also happens to be the leading 3A scorer in the state. The Miners tried to apply pressure, but lost Johnson too many times.
The Miners are now focused on winning the rest of their games in Region 10. Playing in one of the toughest regions in the state, the Miners can’t afford to drop any more games and the team is well aware of that fact.
"We are working harder than ever," Mackaben said. " We just need to be focused and not make mistakes."
Mapstone says that the urgency is certainly there and as soon as the Miners can master a complete game, they have the ability to beat every team in the region.
Mackaben is also hopeful that as the Miners start winning they can draw larger crowds to watch them.
"We’re intense. It’s just fun to watch. We usually have good, exciting games," Mackaben said.
The Miners will play at Uintah next Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
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The large fireworks shows scheduled for July 3 and July 4 at Park City Mountain Resort have been canceled because of worries about fire risk and drought conditions.