PCHS boys’ basketball looks to surprise Region 10
When the Park City High School boys’ basketball team takes the court this year, there won’t be many familiar faces on the floor.
Gone are the top six players from last year’s squad — Bosten Van Der Veur, Reid Marks, Beau Story, Adam Hutt, Sam Kingdon and Logan Holbrook — and in their places are several inexperienced varsity players.
With fresh faces in the starting lineup, Park City Coach Caleb Fine said the Miners probably won’t be taken too seriously, especially at the start of the year.
"Probably from the outside, expectations are going to be low," he said. "We lost a lot of kids and don’t return as much experience as a lot of teams are going to in our region and throughout 3A."
However, he added, the unfamiliarity opponents have with the Miners could work in Park City’s favor.
"This group is going to have to find a way to compete and be a little different," he said. "We’re not at the same level of offensive talent [as last year], but at the same time, they’ve got no choice but to be a team. We’ve got a really long way to go, but we’re going to battle every day in practice and get in the foxhole together and see what we can do."
Teamwork is always important, Fine said, but especially for this year’s team. Last year, Van Der Veur, Marks and Kingdon were all able to create their own offense when needed. This year, that won’t be the case.
"We will sink or swim in our willingness to play together as a team," he said. "If they’re willing to play as a team, we’re going to find a way to surprise some people and beat people. If they don’t, we don’t have the individual talent level this year to rely on individualism. There could be growing pains throughout the way with that strategy, but you’d be surprised what a team can do in 3A basketball."
Senior Drew Fleming played the most minutes at the varsity level last year. Fine said he’ll be counted on for leadership and scoring.
"Drew is going to be very relied upon because he’s played basketball and knows how to win, especially as a golfer [where Fleming was a co-captain of this fall’s 3A title-winning squad]," he said. "Hopefully that carries over."
Senior Nesta Heaps got a few varsity minutes last year as well and will be another key to the team’s success, along with a sizeable senior class.
"One of the fun things about this season is that, although we lost a lot of seniors and don’t have a lot of experience coming back, we have a lot of seniors on this team," Fine said. "They might not have the leadership background, but they’re going to step up. As seniors, they get an opportunity to lead."
Elsewhere, Fine said the team is planning to rely on junior Jack Lecher to fill Marks’ shoes at the point guard position.
"We have big expectations of Jack Lecher," he said. "He got a few varsity minutes from time-to-time last year. He’s got a knack for being a good point guard, but he’s got to make sure he passes the ball first and doesn’t get the ball stuck in his hands. He’s going to have the opportunity to contribute and be a big part of this basketball team."
Region 10 looks very different this year, with Juan Diego, Morgan and Uintah leaving and Stansbury, Tooele and Grantsville coming in. Fine said he doesn’t know a lot about the new region.
"We’ll get to know a lot more," he said. "I’ve been the head coach here for seven years and we have not played Tooele or Stansbury in those seven years. [Grantsville] is going to be really tough. They’re physical and they set hard screens. We expect the same type of basketball out of Tooele and Stansbury and we’ll get to know a lot about them as this year goes on."
Park City’s non-region schedule is filled with tough opponents, including 4A and 5A schools like Skyline, Highland and Taylorsville. With the Miners’ inexperience, Fine said playing bigger schools will help them form an identity.
"We’re going to play some hard opponents every year," he said. "I expect them to learn how to compete. If they play together as a team, we’ll have a chance to compete."
On Dec. 11 and 12, the Miners will take on Summit County rivals North Summit and South Summit in the Park City Classic. Fine said he’s glad to be playing the Wildcats and Braves again this season.
"What makes it successful is the great county rivalries," he said. "South Summit and North Summit are willing to come up and be a part of something I think is really fun. I would like it to stay around for a long time. I think they enjoyed the competitive atmosphere of the games and it’s a lot of fun for all three of our teams. They’re going to be really tough — both teams."
With five new starters and plenty of bench spots needing to be filled, Fine isn’t sure where the Miners will be at the end of the year, but he hopes to compete night in and night out.
"I don’t know yet," he said. "We’ll find out. If they come together and play together, I think we’ll get better every day. If a team gets better each and every day, which I’ve never had a team do, the ceiling will be a lot of surprises. If we get better every day, I think everybody will be quite content with where we end up and I think we’ll surprise a lot of people."
Park City’s season begins with a home game against Skyline on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
PCHS Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Nov. 24 — vs. Skyline — 7 p.m.
Dec. 1 — at Highland — 7 p.m.
Dec. 2 — vs. North Sanpete — 7 p.m.
Dec. 4 — vs. Rockwell — 7 p.m.
Dec. 9 — at Bear River — 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 — vs. South Summit — 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 — vs. North Summit — 7 p.m.
Dec. 15 — vs. Taylorsville — 7 p.m.
Dec. 17 — at Murray — 7 p.m.
Dec. 28-30 — at Hodson Cancer Classic — TBD
Jan. 8 — vs. Ben Lomond — 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 — vs. Tooele — 7 p.m.
Jan. 15 — at Union — 7 p.m.
Jan. 20 — vs. Stansbury — 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 — at Grantsville — 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 — at Tooele — 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 — vs. Union — 7 p.m.
Feb. 5 — at Stansbury — 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 — vs. Grantsville — 7 p.m.
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The Youth Sport Alliance is planning on expanding its program through the rest of the county, and, depending on a grant from the Women’s Giving Fund, adding two part-time positions.