PCHS boys’ LAX falls in regular season finale
The Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team hosted Bingham on Friday night at Dozier Field. The Miners hoped to use the game as a tune-up before the playoffs start this week, but their opponents, also sporting the "Miners" nickname, had different plans.
Park City entered the fourth quarter with a narrow 5-3 lead, but were struggling to shoot the ball accurately. Bingham took advantage in the game’s final 12 minutes, scoring four times while allowing only one goal to escape town with an upset 7-6 victory.
Park City Coach Nick Gradinger said sloppy offensive play has plagued the Miners all year long.
"It’s been an up and down year and we’ve struggled to be consistent with our shooting," he said. "We shot really poorly tonight. I don’t know what the percentage was, but that loss was purely a reflection of poor shooting."
When the Miners aren’t taking quality shots from different spots on the field, they’re much easier to defend, Gradinger said.
"We don’t test goalies enough or give ourselves a chance to score goals because we’re not putting the ball on the cage," he said. "That’s what’s tough. We probably missed our first eight shots tonight. It’s impossible to score if you don’t put shots on cage."
Beau Pederson led Park City with two goals and one assist. Zack Danninger had a goal and an assist and Aiden Christensen, Eli Levine and Jacob Tychsen each scored once. August Orschel chipped in with one assist.
As Bingham closed the gap in the fourth quarter, Gradinger said the Miners started pressing too much.
"We generated a lot of looks early on tonight," he said. "But sometimes when you go behind, you get tight. We got tight tonight. We got three open looks [to tie the game] and just didn’t hit the cage."
With the offense struggling, Gradinger said the defense eventually followed suit as the pressure mounted.
"We were disciplined on the defensive end for the first three quarters of the game and then when things weren’t going our way, we lacked discipline on that end as well," he said. "It all feeds into each other."
But, Gradinger added, the loss wasn’t all about the Miners’ sloppy play. He said Bingham was ready to pounce whenever Park City made a mistake.
"Bingham played a really good brand of ball tonight," he said. "You have to take your hat off to a team that played great. They really capitalized on loose-ball turnovers that we had and then immediately put pressure on our defense. Our transition defense wasn’t stout enough to get stops. At the end of the day, we were outplayed and absolutely outcoached tonight. All we can do is move on."
Park City (9-6 overall) entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed and was scheduled to play No. 13 Judge Memorial on Tuesday night, after this issue went to press. If the Miners advance, they’ll host the winner of No. 5 Fremont and No. 12 Spanish Fork on Friday night. Gradinger said anything is possible for the Miners in the playoffs — both good and bad.
"It’s par for the course for us this year," he said. "We’ve made things hard on ourselves all year long. Hopefully we can be healthy and make a run. It would be just like us to surprise people this year. We’ve surprised people in a positive manner and we’ve surprised people in a negative manner. Regardless, we’re going to pick our heads up and try to make a playoff run."
To advance past the first week of the playoffs, Gradinger said the Miners will have to get back to basics and focus on fundamental lacrosse.
"We have to play a structured, disciplined game on both sides of the ball," he said. "We don’t have the athletes this year we may have had in the past, but when we’re disciplined, we play a really good brand of ball. Our thing this year is we can lose to anybody, but we feel we can beat anybody as well."
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