PCHS boys’ basketball falls in battle with 5A Taylorsville
Trailing 24-20 going into the second quarter of Tuesday night’s game, the Park City High School boys’ basketball team reeled off one of its best quarters of the season, storming back to take a 37-36 halftime lead over 5A Taylorsville at PCHS.
The defining stretch came just before the intermission, when Park City players swarmed the Warriors, forcing turnovers and creating easy baskets.
Park City Coach Caleb Fine said the team’s energy was good all night, but it was at its highest during the pre-halftime stretch.
"I really liked the whole game in terms of effort and energy," he said. "In the first half, the biggest highlight was how we closed the half. We were down and we got a couple layups and steals. Jack [Lecher] got in the passing lanes. They all played with energy, our spacing was good and we put up a lot of points."
The second half was a different story, though. Following the break, the Warriors came storming back, outscoring the Miners 19-11 in the third quarter and holding on for a 77-67 victory.
Fine credited the Miners’ offense for one of its best performances of the season, but said the defense still has room for improvement.
"We have to win in those situations," he said. "We told the boys at halftime that it was going to come down to our defense. We had some good possessions defensively as a team, but we also had some lapses where we gave up wide-open threes and layups in transition."
The culprit behind the defensive lapses was poor communication, Fine said.
"Numerous times we did not know who we had," he said. "Those are unacceptable communication mistakes. That has nothing to do with how talented you are — it’s communication. We’ve got to shore that up because, offensively, we were plenty good tonight."
Despite losing the halftime lead, Fine said he was encouraged by the Miners’ play on Tuesday night. He said it will serve as a good building block moving forward.
"The boys played hard and that’s our goal — to get better every game," he said. "They played hard enough to get better today. We’ve got to find a way to win some games eventually, but I’m thrilled with the way we competed. We competed the entire game. The boys can put that in their back pocket. They know they can compete with a bigger school and they showed that tonight."
Junior point guard Jack Lecher led all scorers with a career-high 21 points in the loss. Seniors Nesta Heaps and Drew Fleming each added 13 points for the Miners. Senior Josh Jennings scored nine points, junior Devin Valiquett had four, senior Josh Hillyard had three and sophomore Sam Addicott and senior Jake Overson each added two points.
Fine said he was happy to see so many players on the score sheet.
"It shows that we can put some points up," he said. "Our team looks pretty respectable offensively when we can get three or four guys going."
Moving forward, the Miners have four straight road games before they return to PCHS. Fine said Park City (1-7) is looking to build chemistry over the next couple of weeks.
"You hope they’re kind of road warriors and that they bond together and really rely on each other," he said. "We’ve got to improve our communication and our rebounding — those are things we’re always working toward. I think they’re going to have fun. We have a tournament we’re traveling to and then we’ve got a week off for Christmas — a special and important time with family. We’re looking for them to have some fun together and hopefully we can bond together and find a way to win, because it’s not easy."
Park City will play in the Hodson Cancer Classic in Cedar City Dec. 28-30. The Miners will return home on Friday, Jan. 8, to take on Ben Lomond. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at PCHS.
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