PCHS boys’ basketball falls in low-scoring game
Tuesday night was an easy night for the scoreboard operator at Park City High School. During the boys’ basketball game between the Miners and the Union Cougars, only 71 total points were scored.
The low offensive output by both teams wasn’t the result of bad offense, though. For the most part, both defenses were playing with an intensity not often seen in high school basketball.
Park City had a chance to win the game in the final minute, but Union, undefeated in Region 10 play, managed to hold on for a narrow 37-34 win.
Starting with a 69-60 loss at Grantsville last week, Park City Coach Caleb Fine said he’s seen his struggling team finally start to put all the pieces together.
"The last three games, the effort has really been there," he said. "It started at Grantsville, where we played so hard. We played hard at Tooele, too, and then the score snowballed in the fourth quarter. That was a basketball game until about six minutes were left.
"It carried over to tonight. [Union] is undefeated in region and we had our opportunities to give them their first loss. We’re going to get over the hump if we continue to do this."
Though the team’s overall record now stands at 1-19 (0-6 in Region 10), Fine said the atmosphere in the locker room after the game was positive.
"It feels good to walk in there and be proud of the boys," he said. "We wanted to win. It hasn’t worked out the way we’d hoped, but that’s life. A lot of people have given up on us and the fans don’t come out like they used to. That’s what happens when you don’t have a great season, but I believe I’m going to get to go in [the locker room] after a win here soon."
Junior Jack Lecher led the way for Park City Tuesday night, scoring 10 points. Seniors Josh Jennings (eight points), Nesta Heaps (six), Drew Fleming (three), Pedro Pulido (two), junior Devin Valiquett (two) and sophomore Chase Preston (three) also contributed offensively.
Pulido played several quality minutes against Union. Fine said he’s been impressed with the way Pulido has worked his way into the Miners’ rotation.
"I’m proud of Pedro," he said. "He’d never played basketball before. He’s coming in and representing the Hispanic culture so well. We haven’t had a lot of guys at the varsity level who are Hispanic before, so I’m just proud of the young man. He played hard and did what we asked of him. He’s been playing JV to get better and now he gets a chance late in the year as a senior to come contribute and we’re going to keep giving him his opportunities."
Union had a of couple players who towered over the tallest Park City players, but the Miners still managed to compete for rebounds. Fine said that’s a testament to the team’s work ethic.
"Nesta, Will [Robinson], Pedro, even Jake Overson and Devin Valiquett at times, they all battled," he said. "We want to take it to the next level and that sort of hard work is going to get us there."
The Miners have two more games left in the regular season — at Stansbury on Friday night (after this issue went to press) and at home vs. Grantsville on Friday, Feb. 12. Fine said he expects Park City to win one or both of those games.
"I feel like they’re ready to make the playoffs and Friday night they’re going to have that chance," he said. "If we beat Stansbury, we’re going to put ourselves in a situation where we control our own destiny to the playoffs. We’re playing to win and we’re playing the right way. It’s taken us a long time to figure out how to do it with this group, but we’re so close. We’re going to give it our best and try to become a playoff team this year."
For Park City’s final home game on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m., Fine said he hopes to see more fans in the stands. But, he added, the gym won’t be lacking in energy for the game against Grantsville.
"There’s energy because we have the best band in all the land and we’ve got a great cheer team," he said. "The guys and gals who do come out from the student body really represent and we’re going to try to get more of the student body to come support us in this last game so we can have a great atmosphere. I promise these boys will play hard for them. There’s always energy in this little gym when you have a band and a cheer team like that."
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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.