PCHS girls’ basketball falls in play-in game
After the first half of Tuesday night’s 3A girls’ basketball playoff play-in game, the Park City High School squad was hanging tough against Region 10 rival Uintah, down 19-13 at the break.
But, after intermission, the Utes turned on the jets, leaving the Miners in the dust en route to a 55-32 victory that earned Uintah the No. 3 playoff seed from Region 10 and eliminated Park City.
Uintah outscored the Miners 16-5 in a lopsided third quarter and 20-14 in the fourth quarter to ensure a victory.
Park City Coach Sam White said the first half was the type of game the Miners wanted to play, but things sped up too much in the second half.
"In the first half, we got the majority of the rebounds," he said. "We didn’t score a lot, but we were killing the clock and doing what we wanted to do."
However, he added, the team couldn’t quite get over the hump and keep any sort of momentum going.
"We were down six at halftime, which was frustrating," he said. "We gave them a little bit of a lead, but we brought it down to two or four a couple times. Right when we’d have momentum, they’d push our girl out of the way and the refs wouldn’t call anything and they’d make a layup. They just out-physicaled us."
Complicating things for Park City was the fact that it was without its top two scorers on Tuesday night.
"We didn’t have Hanna [Shluker] or Marina [Mayo], but we were playing pretty well despite that," White said. "I felt like, even without Hanna and Marina, we were holding our own skill-wise."
White said he put pressure on some of the younger girls, including guard Jessica Perry and center Rachel Brothers, to step up and carry a higher percentage of the scoring load.
"Rachel stepped up and played a lot better — she just didn’t score in the second half, unfortunately," he said. "We put a lot on Jessica, telling her, ‘any time you have a shot or a drive, take it.’ She came into the game shooting the highest percentage on the team."
Perry scored 13 points and Brothers had six. Madeline Komisar and Lirio Sanchez also contributed, adding eight and three points, respectively.
Though it was a lackluster end to the season for the Miners, who dropped their last eight games, White saw plenty of positives this year.
"We had a four-game win streak in the middle of the season that we haven’t had in the seven seasons I’ve been here," he said. "Even before I got here, we hadn’t had a streak like that many times before, either. We started out strong with two wins, one against 5A Hillcrest, and we got a good look at Stansbury and beat Grantsville, both of which will be in our region next year. We had some strong games."
It’ll be hard to replace seniors like Shluker, Sanchez and Lexi Fulton, but White is confident that the returning players can form a strong core.
"Marina grew as a player, so did Madeline and Rachel and everyone else," White said. "It was a big year for growth. Marina will have 60 varsity games under her belt next year, as will Madeline. Rachel and Jessica will have 40."
The key will be turning that experience into wins, he added.
"It’ll be time to make the most of it," he said. "We’ve been putting in the work — now’s the time to make sure it pays off."
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In a season full of growth, Park City finished seventh at the Class 5A state playoffs. With five starters expected to return next year, coach Matt Carlson is taking the adversity from this past season and using it as lessons to be learned for another state title run next year.