Experienced PCHS boys’ basketball team looks to take next step
The familiar squeaking of basketball shoes on a gym floor is back at Park City High School, echoing down the halls even from behind closed doors.
Fortunately for the Miner boys’ squad, the familiar squeaking is accompanied by several familiar faces returning the varsity ranks this season. Though the Miners only had a record of 7-16 last season, optimism abounds this year.
It all starts with the six returning seniors – Bosten Van Der Veuer, Reid Marks, Sam Kingdon, Beau Story, Adam Hutt and Logan Holbrook. With a core group like that returning, coach Caleb Fine said he expects a lot from this year’s Park City team.
"Any time you have guys coming back, it gives you a head start," he said. "You’re always thankful when you have kids returning who contributed a lot to last year’s team. They’re hopefully going to be able to do even more for us this year."
Though the Miners had 16 losses last season, they were competitive in most of their games, losing six of them by less than 10 points. Now that this crop of seniors has experience in close games, Fine said that turning them into victories is among his list of expectations.
"I expect leadership from this group, I expect them to handle adversity and I expect them to get better every day," he said. "If we do that, this team can be very good."
With Marks, Van Der Veur and Holbrook returning to the Miners’ backcourt, Fine expects that group to be the strength of the team.
"Obviously, Bosten has scored a lot for us, so we want to get him the ball in space," Fine said. "Reid ran the show for us last year at the point and his game continues to flourish. And Logan is just a tough, hearty kid who’s willing to do whatever it takes. He’ll step up and hit big shots. He’ll surprise people – don’t leave him open and don’t think you don’t have to guard him."
Down in the post, an area that was a weakness for Park City last year, Fine said he’s seen a lot of improvement from the three seniors who will man the low block this season.
"Sam is one of the most versatile players in 3A," he said. "If he’s willing to go inside and battle inside to complement his ability to pass – he’s one of the best passers, I think, in the state – and his ability to knock down shots when he’s open, we could have a really solid front line.
"Beau’s really developed that drop step. He’s worked incredibly hard and he’s going to impress people. Adam’s undersized, but he’s not under-hearted. That’s sometimes more valuable than size. What you’re going to see out of Adam is a lot of energy and hopefully a lot of scrappy play. He can guard with the best in the state. As long as we stay healthy and don’t get in foul trouble, [post play] should not be a weakness."
Behind the six seniors is where a potential weakness enters the mix for the Miners – who will fill the bench roles? Fine said he’s thankful Park City’s first game isn’t for a couple more weeks so he and his coaching staff can figure out the answer to that question.
"The biggest question marks for this team are, one, how is this senior class going to respond to adversity and, two, who is going to be the bench? All six seniors are capable of putting in a lot of minutes for us, but we’ve got to be eight or nine deep. If we’re not, we’re not going to be great."
The preseason schedule for the Miners will be a mixed bag, featuring a few 4A and 5A opponents like Taylorsville and Highland alongside a couple of 2A opponents like Summit Academy. The two preseason tournaments Park City is scheduled to play in are also different, Fine said.
"We’ve got a couple big 4A/5A tournament games at the Riverton Holiday Tournament," he said. "But we’ve also got a couple fun tournament games when North and South Summit coming up here [on Dec. 12 and 13]. If we play well in the preseason, that bodes well for us. If we can’t win in the preseason, we probably won’t get many wins in region, either."
With defending Region 10 champ Morgan and a state-favorite in Juan Diego, Park City’s road to the postseason will be challenging.
"Region is going to be tough," Fine said. "You’ve got a two-time defending champ in Morgan. They’ve graduated a lot of players, but they know how to win. They’re always a threat at the top. Then you’ve seen the development of the Union and Uintah programs and what they’ve done in football, specifically. They’re going to be confident and hungry for a win when they play us in basketball. Juan Diego might be bringing back just as much as we are. They’re going to be one of the favorites to win state with their star guards."
Regardless of the depth of Region 10, Fine said it’s up to the Miners to control their own destiny.
"Whenever you have a group of seniors like this coming back, the question is, ‘Where do you want to be at the end of the year?’" he said. "I want to be there at the end. I’m not going to lie to anybody, I want to win a state championship. The journey and the traveling to get there is going to be hard and painful at times, but our expectations are very high, so that’s the goal."
Park City hosts Skyline on Tuesday, Nov. 25, to start the season. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.
Park City boys’ basketball schedule
Nov. 25 – vs. Skyline – 7 p.m.
Dec. 3 – at Rockwell – 7 p.m.
Dec. 5 – vs. Highland – 7 p.m.
Dec. 9 – vs. Summit Academy – 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 – vs. South Summit – 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 – vs. North Summit – 7 p.m.
Dec. 16 – at Taylorsville – 7 p.m.
Dec. 19 – at North Sanpete – 7 p.m.
Dec. 27 – vs. Spanish Fork (Riverton Tourney) – 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 29 – TBD (Riverton Tourney) – TBD
Dec. 30 – TBD (Riverton Tourney) – TBD
Dec. 31 – TBD (Riverton Tourney) – TBD
Jan. 7 – at Ben Lomond – 7 p.m.
Jan. 9 – at Grantsville – 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 – vs. Uintah – 7 p.m.
Jan. 16 – vs. Union – 7 p.m.
Jan. 20 – vs. Morgan – 7 p.m.
Jan. 23 – at Juan Diego – 7 p.m.
Jan. 30 – at Uintah – 7 p.m.
Feb. 3 – at Union – 7 p.m.
Feb. 6 – at Morgan – 7 p.m.
Feb. 10 – vs. Juan Diego – 7 p.m.
The Youth Sports Alliance will host a team scramble golf tournament on June 3 at Victory Ranch in hopes of raising funds for its scholarships and youth programs.