Park City girls basketball in search of fun, more wins
The Miners finished last season with a 2-16 record
Park City girls basketball coach Brett Isaacson knows that the Miners’ 7-54 record since the start of his tenure isn’t very flattering. But he’s also seen how much the program has grown heading into his fourth season at the helm, which starts on Nov. 23 against Kearns.
“In terms of wins and losses, not much (has changed) yet,” Isaacson said. “But since I’ve been here, we’ve gotten more girls involved, which has been really cool to see. We’re probably going to have 35 kids in the program this year. Last year, I think we had 22, 23. We’ll actually be able to field a ninth-grade-only team and a 10th-grade-only team.”
Isaacson also said that the team’s culture has improved a lot over the years and that he and his staff have a better feel for how to coach the team. He also created club teams three years ago, and that’s started to pay off as talented young players are entering the high school program for the first time.
But the Miners need short-term solutions as well, and Isaacson is focusing on two metrics: rebounding and turnovers. Preventing offensive rebounds for the opposition and controlling the ball means fewer free points for the opposition, which will hopefully keep Park City more competitive.
“If we cut our turnovers down — which I’ve been saying from day one — even if we don’t score on the other end, we’re not giving up two points,” Isaacson said. “We’re just going to be that much closer in the fourth quarter. … Rebounds, turnovers and just playing aggressive, being free and not caring. Like, what do we have to lose?”
Park City returns three players who played significant minutes in seniors Kathleen Whiteley and Sam Riely and junior Ava Kimche. Seniors Josie Killen and Olivia Miller played sparingly last year but are poised to play more this year. Isaacson said that Miller is the team’s most improved player.
“I’ve been practicing more and trying harder so that I can hopefully start, so that will be fun,” Miller said. “I feel like we’re a lot more put together this year just because before tryouts, we all sort of got together. I feel like we all have a really good relationship with each other.”
Killen transferred into the program last year, but she agreed that the team’s chemistry is a strength.
“We’re all friends here, I think, so that’s good,” Killen said. “We all push each other and keep each other positive, which is nice.”
While the Miners would obviously like to win more games this year, Isaacson doesn’t want his team to worry about its record or how past Park City teams have fared. Instead, it’s about having fun while still trying to improve, and Whiteley backed that up.
“I think we’re all just trying to have fun at the same time, too,” she said. “But yeah, there is a little bit more pressure because we want to win.”
Even as Park City’s program begins to take small steps forward, expectations outside of the program aren’t very high. And the Miners are hopeful that will play to their advantage.
“Honestly, nobody’s expecting much from us,” Isaacson said. “We’re moving to a really good league in (Class) 5A, and people are going to just chalk it up as a ‘W’ every time Park City comes into the gym. I think we have a chance to surprise people if we do these things: rebound, limit our turnovers and just play free.”
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