Park City’s new ‘mayhem’ style of play shows early results
All you have to do is ask Brett Isaacson and he’ll tell you that “there’s a method to the madness.”
What the Park City girl’s basketball coach is referring to is the Miners’ frantic style of play. It looks like madness with players running nonstop while , trapping here and there and constantly yelling and screaming.
To a fan who isn’t as well-versed in basketball, it would look as if Park City has no concept of the game. But all you have to do is talk with Isaacson and he’ll tell you what the Miners are all about.
“We aren’t going to be conservative; we are going to bring the game to our opponents,” Isaacson said. “We are in crazy good shape and run like hell on offense and defense. We aren’t as skilled as a lot of teams but I think we will surprise some coaches because a lot of teams don’t play this way or have seen this style, and hopefully that will lead to more wins.”
The “mayhem” as Isaacson refers to it, took shape long before the start of this season.
As Park City began to close out a 3-18 record last season, Isaacson decided to change things up with four games left to play. He decided that a faster style of play could only benefit the Miners, or as he put it “It couldn’t get much worse.”
The change worked, as the Miners won two games to finish out the season, igniting Isaacson’s goal to fully implement this style of play.
So he spent all spring and summer doing research. He watched films, read books and spoke with other coaches about how to best utilize Park City’s athletes, and how to turn perceived weakness into strength.
“I signed us up for summer tournaments and then we played in a fall league as well,” Isaacson said. “To get good at playing the way we do, you need to do it on the court and the girls have completely bought in. The girls really like playing this way, and to be honest I really enjoy coaching this way.”
Isaacson got the chance to test Park City’s new style in the season opener, when the Miners hosted Layton Christian on Tuesday night. Although Park City lost 53-44, Isaacson was encouraged by what he saw.
“It’s our first game and obviously there were a lot of things we have to work on, but I’m way more encouraged by what I saw,” Isaacson said. “We forced them into turnovers and bad shots, and were able to get our stuff going. We made a lot of simple mistakes that ultimately cost us, but you could see the baseline for our style of play and how it’s going to work out well for us.”
The Eagles, a quarterfinalist in last season’s 2A tournament, jumped out to a nine-point lead early in the second quarter before the Miners’ mayhem started to take shape.
Over the remaining five minutes, Park City would outscore the Eagles 11-2 to go into the half tied at 24. This was just a small spurt of what made the Miners’ style of play so efficient, forcing turnovers and rushed shots at a high rate that helped offset their lack of skill and basketball knowledge, which Isaacson says will come.
“You could see we made some not-so-smart basketball mistakes, just not understanding the basics of what to do,” Isaacson said. “But the girls are working hard and they’re starting to understand that finer points of the game. I keep telling them that when they start to add that aspect, they’re going to be scary good.”
Until that moment arrives however, Park City will continue to refine its style of play in practice. Isaacson is a firm believer that the harder and tougher you practice, the easier and more rewarding the games will be.
“We have got some tough, athletic and gritty girls who know how to fight,” Isaacson said. “If we don’t win, I can guarantee that the opposing teams will remember us. … That’s the type of team we want to be. Our practices are much more competitive and our girls are in great shape, they just enjoy being on the court and causing mayhem.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.