Miners basketball falls to Wasatch in chippy rivalry game
The Park City-Wasatch High School rivalry returned to Park City with Friday’s basketball game, after being held in Wasatch last season. It was the first meeting between the two teams in Park City since the rivalry was disbanded three years ago. Park City’s auxiliary gym was filled with fans wearing red and white, and Wasatch fans wearing camouflage, as the two teams took the court to compete for a yet-to-be-named trophy.
“It’s an excellent rivalry,” said Park City junior power forward Ben Hase. “It’s close, so we always get big crowds. It’s always a fight to the very end. It’s always chippy, too, just because the rivalry keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
Wasatch came out on top, beating the Miners 65-55, with the Miners paying for their chippiness dearly.
The Miners’ leading scorer, junior point guard Mark McCurdy spent close to half the game on the bench due to foul trouble. He started with two quick fouls in the first quarter, and was benched. Then, when a Wasatch player broke free for a layup, McCurdy gave him a push from behind, which the referees caught, and McCurdy spent the remaining 6 minutes until half on the bench.
He picked up another foul in the third, and sat out with three minutes left on the clock, then fouled out near the end of the game.
McCurdy still managed to score more than twice the points of any other Miner, with 22. He sank five 2s, two 3s and made six of his seven free throws. Wasatch’s Will Harris scored the lion’s share for the Wasps, racking up 23 points, of which 11 were on free throws.
“He’s a smart player most of the time, but he made some really, really poor decisions,” coach Mike Doleac said of McCurdy, adding that the team as a whole struggled in that department all night.
“Our decision making was a little off, our effort wasn’t off,” he said. “We didn’t have aggressiveness. A lot of time we came up the court walking the ball up the court and just looking indecisive. And we can’t be.”
Park City trailed Wasatch 19-15 by the end of the first quarter, then fell behind 39-26 going into halftime. The Wasps expanded their lead to 54-37 in the third quarter before the Miners brought it back down to a 10-point game by the final whistle.
“We just didn’t get our minds in front of the game,” Hase said afterward.
Junior shooting guard Nathaniel Lowe and sophomore wing Adam Spink both scored eight points for the Miners — the most behind McCurdy — while Hase and his fellow junior power forwards Alex Obradovich and Alex Fugate all scored four.
“The best part about our team is, there’s no sign there’s any quit in us,” Doleac said. “And they played hard all the way through the game. At no point in this game was there a lack of effort, it was just a lack of confidence at points — aggressiveness, focus perhaps. But I’m proud of the way they are sticking together as a group, because it would have been easy to let that one get away, and they didn’t.”
The Miners (1-2) are entering a heated stretch of Friday-night games, with Highland (2-2) at home this week, followed by rivals South Summit (3-1) away on Dec. 14, and North Summit (1-3) on Dec. 21 at home. All three games are scheduled for 7 p.m.