PCHS boys’ basketball drops Region 10 opener
During the second half of the Park City High School boys’ basketball team’s 55-41 home loss to Tooele on Wednesday night, the Miners had trouble playing well on both ends of the floor at the same time.
For long stretches, when the Miners would get a nice defensive stop, they’d be unable to score on the offensive end. On the other hand, when they’d make a basket on offense, they’d give up an even easier bucket to their Region 10 foes on defense.
Lapses like that make it hard to win basketball games, Park City Coach Caleb Fine said. But, he added, he believes the Miners are on the verge of putting it all together for a full game.
"Tonight, we were really proud of their effort," he said. "We told them we think they played region basketball and hard enough to win. But we had mental mistakes and that’s part of focusing on both ends of the floor. Numerous times, we’d miss a responsibility on one end of the floor or the other. But the effort was there and I think you saw that. I think that’s the best team in our league and we had opportunities to win the game."
Fine said the Miners need to work on their late-game decision making and focus on playing the right way when they’re exhausted.
"We’re going to try to get them fatigued in practice, not because they need to be fatigued physically, but because they need to practice being tough mentally when they’re tired," he said. "That’s when it’s hard."
Park City is one of the shortest teams in 3A and Tooele had a couple of players who were at least three inches taller than the tallest Miner, but Fine said the Buffaloes’ size isn’t what hurt Park City Wednesday night.
"I thought, for the most part, we did a good job against their size," he said. "We didn’t let them intimidate us too much. The biggest thing is understanding there’s more scouting this time of year in region play and we have to adjust to the scouting reports."
Senior Drew Fleming led the Miners with 12 points, doing most of his damage from behind the three-point line, where he’s most dangerous. Beyond Fleming, though, Fine said Park City needs to find ways to score closer to the rim.
"Ultimately, we need paint play," he said. "It doesn’t necessarily have to come through the post. We don’t necessarily have the post play we’ve had in years past — every year we’ve usually had someone we could throw it down to. More importantly, we’re looking for paint play. We’ve got to get the ball down to the paint and make plays from there. We’re emphasizing different ways to get the ball there. We’ve got to be willing to make the pass and attack."
Senior Nesta Heaps had eight points, six rebounds and three steals Wednesday night. Junior Jack Lecher added seven points and seven boards. Senior Chase Malone had six points and three assists. Senior Josh Jennings (five points), junior Devin Valiquett (two) and senior Will Robinson (one) also found their way onto the score sheet.
After missing significant stretches of time due to injury, Robinson and Malone are working their way back into top form, Fine said.
"Those guys missed a lot of basketball in this middle stretch," he said. "They’ve both gotten to play the last couple of games, which really helps us. Our depth is increased and we hope we can play harder and generate a little more offense because of it. It’s great to get those guys back."
On Friday night, after this issue went to press, Park City (1-14 overall, 0-1 in Region 10) traveled to Roosevelt to take on Union (7-7, 1-0). Fine said he was expecting a battle from the Cougars.
"They’re a team that has a new coach and they play a lot of 1-3-1 zone," he said. "It’s going to be a lot about how we attack the zone."
Park City’s next home game is against Stansbury on Jan. 20. Fine said he doesn’t know much about the Stallions, but from what he’s seen they’re a similar team to Park City.
"Tooele and Stansbury, I hadn’t played either of them and this is my seventh year [as PCHS head coach]," he said. "Stansbury, they’re struggling to get things going on offense as well and kind of going through the same things we are. It’ll be a great opportunity at home after going a long way away [to play Union]."
Wednesday night’s game against Stansbury is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the PCHS gym.
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Park City is the lone undefeated team in Region 10 play after a 60-30 win over Mountain View. The Miners have three more region games in their quest to repeat as region champions.