Park City girls basketball ‘thinking big picture’ despite rough start to the season
It’s been a tough decade for Park City girls basketball as they’ve earned only one winning record.
That’s why coach Brett Isaacson, who’s in his second season as head coach, has been tagged with changing the culture of the program.
He entered this season with high hopes after his team showed improvement during summer and fall training. But nearly four weeks in, those improvements haven’t translated into a winning record.
Park City is 2-5 so far, with its wins coming against Maeser Prep Academy in the third game of the season and Summit Academy on Thursday. Between then, the Miners were on a four-game losing streak, two of which have come after being outscored by 25 points.
“I know we came into this year not only wanting but expecting certain things and now it’s obvious that we still have a long ways to go,” Isaacson said. “But we can’t give up, and our focus has to change. We must still get better each day and but also understand that this turnaround is going to take longer than we expected.”
Still, Isaacson believes the season is not lost as there are still 14 games to be played and lessons to be learned.”
“One thing we’ve talked about is that the stats we have been putting up are still pretty encouraging,” Isaacson said. “We are forcing more turnovers, grabbing more offensive rebounds and averaging 16 more field goal attempts per game. … But we just aren’t converting all those shot attempts into points for whatever reason. Our shooting needs to improve so we must stay positive because you can’t score with a negative mindset.”
The shooting deficiencies has been keeping Isaacson and his staff up late at night, as a text thread between the coaches remains constant with questions like “what are we doing wrong?” and “why can’t we get it right?”
The coaches are considering making practices less intense to take the pressure off the girls.
“I really think that part of our issue is that the girls just put so much pressure on themselves to succeed that they play tight and therefore struggle,” Isaacson said. “We can do all the shooting drills in the world but if they’re tight when doing them, they won’t be successful.”
Despite the struggles, Isaacson and his staff were encouraged after Tuesday’s loss to Layton. The Miners fell behind 14-1 early before eventually succumbing 72-47 — but it’s what happened after the game that Isaacson believes will serve as a stepping stone the rest of the way.
“I was pretty down after the loss, but the captains came to me and showed a lot of leadership,” said Isaacson. “They told me that they believe in what we are doing and want to keep working at it. … They don’t want to go give up and they’re going to stay positive and get better. Hearing that from your players makes all the difference in the world.”
It seems Park City may have turned the corner following its latest game, 37-36 victory over Summit Academy on Thursday. After a slow start that ended in a 5-5 tie after the first quarter, the Miners outscored the Bears 26-20 over the second and third quarters before hanging on for the win.
Regardless of how this season turns out, Isaacson believes that what they do this year will pay dividends in the coming seasons. While the wins haven’t been coming as often as he’d like, Isaacson is trusting that the stats are telling a different story, and when combined with the drive and determination of the players, he says it’s only a matter of time until things fully change.
“We need to keep thinking big picture because next season, there will be no room for excuses, only wins,” Isaacson said.
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It wasn’t easy, but the Miners dispatched Region 8 rival Salem Hills in five sets on Wednesday, earning momentum heading into the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.