Miners look to compete in winnable Region 10 | ParkRecord.com

Miners look to compete in winnable Region 10

As the seasons slowly shift from fall to winter, the Park City High School girls' basketball team is preparing to start its season on Tuesday, Nov. 22, when it'll play host to Cyprus.

The Miners are eager to get back on the court to try and improve on their third-place region finish from last season, but no one is as excited as Jessica Perry.

Last season was full of ups and downs for the senior, who was the leading scorer for Park City before a torn ACL forced her out for a brief period of time. The injury would be season ending for many athletes, but for Perry, she returned, though less mobile, to finish off the season with her team.

Heading into 2016, Perry is fully recovered from last year's injury. She's expected to resume her responsibilities as the leading scorer for the Miners, as well as be a leader for the team that lost three seniors who played significant minutes from last year's squad.

"[Perry is] looking a lot more mobile this year," Head Coach Sam White said. "Definitely back to her old self. She's got her moves. She's got her aggressiveness. She still has her shot. It'll be interesting to see if she’s timid or not about going inside. … But she's got that eye of the tiger. She wants to take it hard every single time."

Much of the attention will be on Perry and her return this season, but White is excited about the rest of his roster, even if it is a little unproven. Montana Landis, who stands at 5-foot-11, is expected to take on a more meaningful role on the wing. White hopes Landis will be able to provide a scoring threat to take some of the pressure off Perry.

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After seeing the court as a freshman last season, Lois Garlow is also expected to help in this endeavor. White hopes that Garlow, being one of the younger players on the team, can make a jump in her sophomore season that could form somewhat of a formidable trio between her, Landis and Perry.

"We trust [Garlow] a lot," White said. "She makes great decisions. She moves the ball. This year, she's definitely going to be a scoring threat. We're excited to see where she kind of takes it."

The rest of the team is full of the unknown. The six-foot Gabbi Snow is expected to have an impact, but is also raw, says White. Meanwhile, fellow seniors Hanna Greenholtz, Blythe Petty, Daneli Pena and Denise Zarate are all looking to be pivotal members of the rotation moving forward.

"Just looking for a balanced team," White said. "Obviously, we want the ball in [Perry's hands]. We want her taking shots. But we're confident that the rest of the team can score, as well."

Last season, the Miners saw their season end in the first round of the 3A state playoffs to eventual state champion Snow Canyon, but found success in region play. Their record against Region 10 opponents was just 3-5, good enough for third place, but by diving into the statistics a little deeper, they weren't far off from taking home a region title, as well.

In all of the region games last season, Park City scored 404 points while surrendering 440. Over the course of an eight-game region schedule, that's roughly 50.5 points per game for the Miners and 55 points per game for their opponents, under a five-point difference.

"I loved last year how it was pretty much an even playing field," White said. "It just made the games much more competitive. It made the season more exciting. It created more buy-in with the girls when they knew that they could compete in the region. I'm looking forward to that same kind of mentality this year."

In an effort to be more competitive, White has his team not only getting stronger physically — the girls are lifting for 20-25 minutes each day — but also mentally, going through drills in order to prepare the players for high-pressure situations.

Of course, the Miners are looking to improve upon last year's finish, possibly place better than third in the region or make it farther in the state playoffs. In the end, though, White is focused on one thing that doesn't even have all that much to do with basketball.

"I told the girls, 'You might leave here a little better at basketball, but if you don't leave here a lot better of a person, then we've failed you as coaches,'" White said. "We're working on preparing these guys for life and for life after basketball. Obviously, we want to be successful on the court and success on the court transfers to success in life, but we're going to really focus on being a team this year."