Miners can’t match East’s size in 70-46 loss
Perry finishes as lone Miner with double digits
When the Park City High School girls’ basketball coach Sam White sits down with his coaching staff to create a schedule for a new season, there’s a few factors that come into play.
White and company usually sit down and take a look at almost every team in the state — most of them being in the Summit County or Salt Lake area — and compare what his team looks compared to the rest of them. The teams range in classification from 1A to 5A. The bigger schools are typically more of a challenge.
White knew that hosting East High School, a 5A school, prior to region play was a bit of a gamble. After comparing the teams and what each of them had returning for the new season, the PCHS Head Coach felt this would be a good test for the Miners.
But what he didn’t account for — and no one really could — were the underclassmen and improvement from returning East players.
“That goes back even to the offseason, when we’re building that schedule, we kind of Moneyball it,” White said. “East was not supposed to be that good on paper, but you’ve got three freshmen playing on Varsity that you can’t account for.”
The Leopards, led by 32 points from junior Liana Kaitu’u, used a dominant fourth quarter to race past Park City, 70-46, on Tuesday evening. Kaitu’u seemed to score at will, as there wasn’t anyone on the Park City bench that could match her size and athleticism.
“[Kaitu’u] scored more in the first, but it seemed like she was unstoppable in the second half,” White said.
The other problem for the Miners was that Kaitu’u, who stands at 5-foot-11, wasn’t East’s tallest player. That title belongs to Precious Faamausili, a freshman center who measures in at 6-foot-1. The Leopards also boast two other players at 5-foot-11, as well as another just an inch shorter.
To make matters worse, most of them were able to dribble, drive and shoot just as well as some of their guards.
“I had some film on them before, so I knew they were big,” White said. “I didn’t realize they were that big.”
Park City was led by senior-sharpshooter Jessica Perry, who seemed to be the only Miner to get anything going against a stout East defense. She finished with 18 points, which included back-to-back three-pointers in the first quarter to keep the game close early on.
As for everyone else, it was a major team effort to stay afloat in this one. Typically, Perry and fellow star Lois Garlow do most of the damage. White realized, though, that if they were to compete in this game, they needed to share the ball more than usual.
Garlow, who likes to contribute in other ways besides just scoring, finished with nine points, while Hanna Greenholtz and Montana Landis finished with seven and six points, respectively.
While the 24-point deficit at the end of the game implies it was a blowout, the Miners were much closer than the score indicates. There were times when their defense was good enough to make consecutive stops, but they couldn’t capitalize on the other end. Other times, they couldn’t get the stops, but were able to find the bottom of the net.
Throughout the entirety of the game, Park City was close to putting it all together, but never quite got there.
“Our problem was coming down on the offensive end and taking good shots after that or having the right people taking the right shots,” White said. “That kind of ultimately let the gap get a little wider. Instead of getting stops and scoring and trimming [the lead], we were getting stops but we weren’t scoring.”
The Miners were scheduled to take on Carbon on Thursday night, but due to heavy snow, the game was postponed. They will have their next opportunity to get back on the winning side of things when they play host to Waterford on Friday (the deadline for this issue passed before the game started).
Park City’s first region game will take place on Tuesday when it hosts Union from The Shaft. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.
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Skille will be the new director of player development for the Park City Ice Miners.