Miners girls basketball finish season of slow improvement
The Park City High School girls basketball team had a rough season, going 3-18, and finished with a 71-19 loss to Stansbury on Wednesday.
But the Miners’ season is still an improvement over the one before it, even if the team’s goal of making the playoffs wasn’t realized.
By coach Brett Isaacson’s account, rebounds were up and so were shots taken, while turnovers were down. Compared with the 2017-2018 season, the team’s improvement was noticeable.
Last season, the team won one game, had just one loss within five points, and had seven losses by more than 30 points.
This season, the Miners won three games, had four losses that were within five points, and, as for bad losses — by more than 30 points — the Miners had four.
“You are what your record is, I suppose,” Isaacson said. “But I was happy to be able to say we were right there, we had chances to win three to four more league games.”
The team concluded the season with two games on either end of the competitive spectrum — a 52-46 win over Juan Diego at PCHS on Feb. 15, and the blowout against Stansbury.
Isaacson said the former game represented the future of the team, and the latter was the product of absences.
“Juan Diego was, to me, almost like a culture-changing game in my opinion,” he said. “It was a team we didn’t even compete against (earlier in the season).”
The Miners lost to the Soaring Eagle 58-47 in a road game on Jan. 18, but managed to beat them at home while using a full-court press.
“Everything we’ve been working on, they did,” Isaacson said of his team. “We talked about poise, and not letting a 6-0 run turn into a 16-0 run. … We were down by 8 midway through the third quarter and these girls never got rattled. They eventually wore Juan Diego down.”
The Miners scored 24 points in the fourth quarter alone — as many points as they had scored in seven games the previous season.
“You could see the type of system we want to play,” Isaacson said of using a full-court press against Region 11’s fourth-ranked Juan Diego. “They really took to it. They weren’t over-thinking, they played with a lot of confidence, it was really encouraging.”
The strategy wasn’t as effective against Stansbury, ranked second in Region 11 with a 9-2 record, and it didn’t help that the team was missing several players, including senior point guard Corrine Sullivan, senior forward Alex Springer, freshman Sam Reily, sophomore guard Samantha Givich, sophomore Inés Fernández and senior forward Anna Miller.
“There’s really not a ton we could take from the last game,” Isaacson said.
Eight Miners will graduate this season, including Sullivan and Miller, guard Sadie Ortiz, guard Madelyn Napier, forward Shannen Springer, forward Alex Springer, forward Courtney Kaufman, and guard and forward Hannah Varechok.
As for Isaacson, the first-year PCHS coach will return next season, even if he was at times visibly frustrated on the sideline during this season.
“I suppose if the Jazz offered me an assistant job, I would have to think long and hard,” he said. “But honestly, I loved it. I think the girls probably think I’m crazy … but I think they get my hyper-competitiveness.”
Before the season, Isaacson made concrete plans to improve in certain areas. For instance, he wanted to reduce offensive turnovers by half — from 38 percent to 19. Next season, he’s aiming to implement the full-court press in every game, with effects that are harder to measure.
“We plan to make the games chaotic and crazy and mayhem,” he said. “And I think it’s going to give us a chance to compete, even at 5A.”
The Park City High School baseball team was knocked out of the Class 4A playoffs on May 15 when they lost to Bear River 8-6.