Miners girls basketball notches season’s first win in final game | ParkRecord.com

Miners girls basketball notches season’s first win in final game

It was not the state championships — not the semi-finals, or the quarterfinals. In fact, it was more like the anti-state championships: Region 11's two bottom teams grinding out their last game of the season with nothing more than pride on the line. But to the players, it might as well have been the playoffs.

On Thursday night, Park City High School's girls basketball team dressed out for a game against the Bon Lomond Scots. The Miners were winless over the season and averaging 20 points per game in Region 11 play, where they were 0-12, with an overall record of 0-21. Thursday night was their last chance to get a win, and their last opportunity to honor their four seniors — Hudson Albright, Francesca Castellano, Ruth Cook and Madison Barfuss. Before the match, the seniors were escorted onto the court by their parents while their teammates read statements about how much they meant to them. Phrases like "No matter what the future holds," and "Good luck out there," served as refrains in the ceremony.

Then it was time to play.

The Scots (3-11 in Region and 5-16 overall) remained even with the Miners through most the game, and trailed the Miners by two points at half. By the end of the third quarter, the Miners led 29-25, and with just under four minutes left, the Scots tied the score at 33.

By that point, each play was frantic and each point was celebrated like it would win the game.

Park City coach Sam White said the third quarter was usually when the Miners would hit a scoring drought.

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"We were trying to call plays just to get any kind of motion," White said. "After the first two quarters, they kind of knew our plays so we were just trying to get looks, and the girls did a great job of improvising."

Cook kept the team afloat through field goals while Courtney Kaufman scored some timely free throws, bringing the Miners to a 39-36 lead in the final minute of the game.

Then the Miners hit a snag, and for a while, neither team could score.

"I was telling everyone to just breathe and keep it even and we'll play our hardest defense and get this win," junior Corrine Sullivan said after the game.

The Scots narrowed the lead to 39-38 through free throws and gained a possession going into the final seven seconds of the game. Ben Lomond's Andie Boothe brought the ball down the court, and burst into the lane for a layup, but it rolled off the rim as the buzzer sounded. The home team's players rushed to their bench to hug their teammates, while the teary-eyed Scots collected their bags.

The Scots had beaten Park City 57-30 on January 23.

Sullivan said the Miners had started the game with "a new kind of fire."

"We were in the locker room before the game and we were just all there for the seniors," she said. "We wanted to win for our seniors, our coaches and, obviously, for ourselves."

She said it was the hardest she had seen the team play all season.

"We were on the ground for every single ball, every turnover we were getting back on defense, and we played our butts off," she said. "I am so proud of this team, and I'm so happy to get the 'W.'"

Cook, who led the team in scoring with 13 points, said she didn't realize the Miners had won when the buzzer went off until she saw her teammates celebrating.

"But honestly I'm so happy and so sad to finish off our senior year," she said. "It's been rough, but honestly it's been a great season. We've grown so close to one another, and we have an amazing team."

The team cloistered in the locker room for a long post-game talk, where they discussed the season, the game.

"Sometimes, when it gets to even a five-point game, oftentimes that can be the end of it," White said. "Because for us it's been difficult to score at times. But the girls just found a way. I was really proud of them."

"It felt like state," Cook said. "We were like 1 and 19, but it feels like state."