Miner boys hold off feisty Union | ParkRecord.com

Miner boys hold off feisty Union

Though the final score showed that the Park City High School boys’ basketball team picked up a 12-point, 68-56 victory at home against Region 10 opponent Union on Friday night, the game felt much closer during a tense second half.

After jumping out to a 31-17 halftime lead, Park City’s defense struggled mightily in the second half, allowing Union to close the gap to under 10 points before the Miners were able to hold on for a win late.

But, as Park City Coach Caleb Fine said, despite the struggles, the important thing is that the Miners are now 2-0 in region play.

"At the end of the day, a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ and we’re thrilled to take it," he said. "They’re hard to get in region and they’re not always going to be pretty. You’ve got to find ways [to win] and we did."

However, he added, the defense will need to be much better than it was in the second half of Friday’s game if the Miners hope to keep winning.

"We’ve got to get better defensively, obviously," he said. "Our second-half defense flat-out stunk, but we’ll take a ‘W’ and happily go to 2-0. Now we just have to get better."

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Fine said the defensive effort in the second half was disappointing after allowing only 17 points in the first half.

"Our first half was one of our best defensive halves all year," he said. "And then we started having a lot of lapses. We didn’t have the right fronts on and we allowed a lot of middle penetration. Guys weren’t ready to help and that’s why the seas were open for Union. Fortunately, we had enough offense in the tank to hold them off."

The offense was led by senior forward Bosten Van Der Veur, who was on fire in the first half. In the first quarter, Van Der Veur scored 14 of Park City’s 16 points. By the time the final buzzer sounded, he led all scorers with 33 points. Reid Marks (13 points) and Sam Kingdon (11 points) also finished in double-digits. Adam Hutt added four points, Drew Fleming had three and Logan Holbrook and Beau Story each had two.

"I was just feeling it," Van Der Veur said. "My teammates were getting me open and shots were going in. I had rhythm and that really helped me. It was just a good first half."

"He had a big half and a big game," Fine added. "He did a lot of good things for us early. He was sick last game, so it was nice to see him feeling better. He’s going to have some games where he just gets going and he did that tonight, especially in the first half."

Many of Van Der Veur’s first-half points came in transition. He said transition play is a big focus of Park City’s offense.

"We try to be a running team," he said. "It’s really important for us to have everyone get out in transition. When I get the ball, I’m on the attack looking to score. I really tried to improve my transition game over the summer."

Van Der Veur added that playing in front of a packed gym also helps to motivate the Miners. Late in the first half, Van Der Veur dunked the ball, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Big plays like that are a lot more fun at home, he said.

"We love our crowd," he said. "They give us so much energy and make it hard on our opponents. We love making those big plays in front of all our friends and families."

Moving forward, Van Der Veur isn’t worried about the defense. He said the Miners know what to do — it’s just a matter of putting what they practice into game situations.

"I think it’s a lot of mental mistakes," he said. "We work on these things in practice and then we just slip up in the games sometimes. If we can sharpen it up and stop the drives, we can be really good defensively."

Early foul trouble from the post players was definitely a factor on Friday. Fine said Park City needs to learn how to adjust to the refs better.

"They were calling it both ways," he said. "Most coaches like it when the kids get to play, but at the same time, when your guys are getting fouled, you want it to be a foul. The refs are going to call it the way they’re going to call it. It was a little tight tonight, but it was tight both ways — so be it."

Park City was scheduled to take on defending 3A state champion Morgan on Tuesday night at PCHS. Fine said it would be important for the Miners to improve to 3-0 at home in Region 10 play before going on a four-game road trip during Sundance.

"We have to protect our home floor and knock off the defending 3A champs," he said. "It’s going to take an incredible defensive effort and a greater sense of urgency."

"That’s a huge game," Van Der Veur added. "They took it to us the last couple years and beat us big. We love a chance to play good teams like them and we’re going to play as hard as we can. We’ll have our home crowd behind us again and we’ll see what we can do."

Park City (12-4 overall, 2-0 in Region 10) returns to the court on Friday night at Juan Diego (12-4, 2-0). That game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.