Hot start not enough for PCHS boys against Union
Fouls come back to bite Miners late in game
The Park City High School boys’ basketball team couldn’t imagine a better start to Tuesday evening’s region-opening game against the Union Cougars. The team was playing within the confines of The Shaft at PCHS and from the opening tip, seemed to be on a different level than the Cougars.
After winning the tip on the opening possession, the Miners’ point guard Chase Preston swished a three from the corner to immediately put his team up. The hot streak continued to the tune of a 14-1 run to start the game, which included another Preston three among a well-balanced attack.
It seemed, at the time, that this could be the game the Miners break their 10-game losing streak. They were feeling good, but maybe a little too good.
“I think earlier in the game, we got too high,” Head Coach Mike Doleac said. “We let that positive emotion overwhelm us and we forgot what we were supposed to be doing.”
The Cougars followed up that run with back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead, but they weren’t done there. The second quarter was really where they took over the game by outscoring the Miners 19-7. Union’s Chase Birchell even outscored the entire Park City team with all nine of his points coming in that frame.
Even though the Miners outscored the visiting team in the second half, that second quarter (the only quarter Park City technically lost in terms of scoring) was enough to propel Union to the 61-56 win in the Region 10 opener.
“The game was kind of a wake-up call more than anything else with how we need to act,” Doleac said. “I think it kind of showed some glimpses of what we can be in a positive way and it also showed us some glimpses of what we can be in a negative way.”
Jack Lecher led the way for the Miners with 21 points, 16 of them coming in the second half. Collin Zur, along with freshmen Nate Lowe and Mark McCurdy, each chipped in eight points apiece.
Union was led by Kalob Bolton with 23 points, while Austin Jaramillo and Ty Gillman finished with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
One negative thing that Doleac referred to was the foul trouble Park City found itself in. Though some seemed questionable, at best, the Miners committed 21 fouls throughout the game, allowing Union to get in the double-bonus in both halves.
The worst of them came in the second half when the Zur twins, Spencer and Collin, were both assessed technical fouls on separate occasions, which forced both of them to the bench after fouling out. Being two of the bigger players on Park City’s roster, Spencer’s and Collin’s lack of presence in the game certainly hurt down the stretch.
Some of the fouls stemmed from pure emotion and Doleac is taking it on himself to aid his players in controlling said emotion.
“We need to address some of those issues on the negative side and focus on maximizing and improving to reach the positive side,” Doleac said. “I am trying to [teach them] and we’ve met and talked about it. We do have some kids who are passionate. I think they just need to be guided down the road in the right way and be shown how to handle the ups and downs.”
While the loss is frustrating for the Miners, who will try to break their 11-game losing streak on Friday when they host Tooele at PCHS (this issue went to print before the conclusion of Friday’s game), there were still some positives to take away from the game. Yes, the Miners gave up the lead after starting the game hot from the field, but they made it interesting right until the end.
There may not be an answer as to how Park City can break out of this funk. For Doleac, though, it’s simple; he just wants to see improvements.
“We battled back and stayed in the game, which is definitely a positive trait,” Doleac said. “Down the stretch, we just made some mistakes that hurt us, but they did continue to battle the way they need to in order to put themselves in a game.
“What I need to stress with the guys is that we’ve got to get one step better each and every day. Some days it might be two steps, but we can’t have any steps backward. Even if it’s a tiny step, just have to move forward.”
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Skille will be the new director of player development for the Park City Ice Miners.