Park City High School boys basketball beats Scots in season finale
For the Park City High School boys basketball team, this season has been characterized by a series of “ups and downs,” — a phrase players and assistant coach Thomas Purcell used to sum up the team’s struggles. The Miners had won five games coming into last Friday’s game against the Ben Lomond Scots, which left them hoping to finish with gusto, and look forward to successful seasons to come.
“It was a little disappointing,” said sophomore Mark McCurdy when asked about the season. “I thought we were going to be better than we were. But we are young, we’re going to improve, and I think we will be really good in the future.”
The team could at least find solace in their season-ending games: back-to-back wins over Ogden on Feb. 9, and a 58-50 victory over the Scots on Friday. The Miners pulled away against the Scots in the third quarter, growing their narrow lead to 10 points, then holding it through the second half.
“Tonight meant a lot,” Purcell said.
In particular, Purcell said the game was a good send-off for seniors Chase Preston and Victor Casarrubias, who he said were respected members of the team.
“It was evident (the team) wanted to send those seniors out on top,” he said.
Sophomore Ben Hase concurred, adding that the game was probably the best of the season.
“We worked our tails off and got the win,” he said, standing among families and classmates that had walked onto the court. “(In the third quarter) our shots were falling, and we decided we needed to kick in with extra drive and get the win.”
The last game of the season also represented a turning point for the team, when its young roster would start to transition into upperclassmen. Next season, the team’s starting lineup will consist mainly of juniors and sophomores instead of sophomores and freshmen, which Purcell said will be a mental adjustment for the team.
“As they mature, it’s no longer good enough to just want to win games,” Purcell said. “They have to start expecting it. Good teams with older guys expect to win, and our guys are good enough, they just aren’t experienced enough. They really need to start expecting to win every time they take the court.”
Next season, McCurdy said, he hopes the team earns a winning record, and makes it through a couple of playoff games. To achieve that, the team will have to work hard in the offseason.
“I just think we needed experience,” he said. “We are a little young, not very strong, we need to be more physical.”
In short, the team will have to commit to spending more hours in the weight room.
As Purcell pointed out, the season was not without a silver lining. The team earned slightly more wins than in past seasons, starting with one win two years ago and five last year.
“So we’re trending in the right direction,” he said. “It seems 14-, 15-year-olds, they are always motivated, it’s just a matter of keeping their confidence up.”
He said he wants his players to focus on getting “1 percent better each day” during the offseason, and if they do that, they will start to see better results.
“I think for this team next year, you’ll be talking about trying to win a region championship, definitely going to the state tournament,” he said.
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It’s been a rough season for Park City, but a taste of the postseason could pay huge dividends in the future.