Miners boys basketball defeats Ben Lomond in opening region game
In Utah high school basketball, the new year marks the beginning of region play, and the Miners started 2019 off with a 57-40 home win over Ben Lomond on Friday.
All the games up to that point, were warm-up for the 3-6 squad.
“It’s a whole new season,” said coach Mike Doleac after the win.
After going down by two points to start the game, the Miners came back to a 15-6 lead by the end of the first quarter, with five players contributing to the score: senior Jacob Farnsworth, juniors Mark McCurdy, Nathan Lowe and Alex Fugate, and sophomore Adam Spink.
The Scots were unable to stop the Miners’ offense in the second quarter, either. The home team outshot the visitors 17-11, with scoring spread almost evenly across five players again, with junior Alex Obradovich instead of Lowe.
The Miners led 32-17 at halftime and extended their lead to 49-26 at the start of the fourth quarter before the 57-40 finish.
The victory was in stark contrast to last year’s losses to Stansbury in the Region 11 opener and to Ben Lomond later on.
But the team was coming out of a similar stretch of nonconference games as last season.
Like last season, the Miners had the same record after the leadup to region play – 3-6.
This season, the Miners suffered their most recent defeats during a tournament over Christmas break, which had started with a 71-63 win over Skyline in the opening game at home on Dec. 27. The Miners then lost to Desert Hills 87-59 on Dec. 28 at Olympus High School, and lost to Murray 75-35 at Murray High School on Dec. 29.
“We started off well … then the next two games the energy wasn’t there,” said Obradovich. “I think we turned it around tonight.”
Doleac said the team had played with confidence in Friday’s game, and had shut down Ben Lomond’s junior guard Garet Rentmeister, who scored five points over the game.
“The best part about tonight was our defense,” Doleac said. “We got up and put ball pressure on them. When we have the confidence to get up and guard like that, we can play really well.”
Fugate led the team in scoring, putting up 14 points, followed by McCurdy with nine and Lowe with eight. The distribution broke from the Miners’ usual scoring pattern, which usually features either McCurdy or Lowe scoring more than their teammates.
Doleac said spreading the points around wasn’t an explicit goal so much as finding the right shots was.
“We’ve just been working on getting great shots in rhythm and range for whoever that is,” he said. “And that was our focus this week in practice. Rhythm, range, good shots, and we took a lot of those tonight. And when you take those shots you make them more often than not.”
He encouraged his players to savor the win.“I hope the boys celebrate it,” he said. “They worked hard, they earned it, so I hope they enjoy the night as well and we’ll get back to work next week.”
As for the difference between last season and this one, Obradovich said it was nearly the same team as last year.
“We’re all just one year older, more mature, we put in work over the offseason,” he said. “We’re just better, and we’re growing as a team.”
The Miners will play at Ogden (3-7) on Friday at 7 p.m.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.