Region 10 struggles continue for PCHS boys’ basketball
Basketball teams often go through stretches where they play better than normal or stretches where they struggle. Usually, those periods of ups and downs happen over the course of weeks, though — not in a single game.
On Wednesday night, the Park City High School boys’ basketball team played two of its worst quarters of basketball this season, but also played easily its best quarter of the year.
By halftime of Wednesday’s home game against the Stansbury Stallions, the Miners found themselves in a 33-16 hole thanks to a sluggish offense and lapses on the defensive end.
But, following the intermission, the Miners came out like a team on a mission, outscoring the Stallions 16-4 in the third quarter and closing the gap to 37-32 heading into the final period.
Early in the fourth quarter, however, the Miners reverted back to their first-half level of play, allowing the Stallions to win the quarter 25-10 and earn a lopsided 62-42 victory.
Park City Coach Caleb Fine said Wednesday night’s loss was particularly difficult to understand.
"They’re all tough," he said. "What was hard is we had a chance and I thought we made poor decisions down the stretch. That’s what’s the toughest. There was certainly an effort to get back in the game, but we struggled with consistency down the stretch and weren’t able to make adjustments. We quickly molded back into the team that’s found ways to lose games, unfortunately."
For Fine and his coaching staff, figuring out how to press the right buttons and get the Miners to play like they did in the third quarter for an entire game is the big question.
"If I knew that at this point in the season, we’d be in a much better place," he said. "[Wednesday’s game was] unique to my seven years as head coach. We’ve had bad games and we’ve had great games — usually they come in bunches. I really do think there’s a good chance that the third quarter was our best quarter of the year. Even the beginning of the fourth quarter was fine, but with about five minutes left, we reverted back to some bad habits and it cost us."
After halftime, Stansbury’s full-court press didn’t seem to bother the Miners. Fine said that was a key to the third-quarter success.
"Chase Preston came in and really attacked well," he said. "We got [Jack] Lecher the ball in the middle of the floor more and that helped us as well."
Quickly breaking the press led to open offensive opportunities for Park City. Senior Will Robinson was there to take advantage of several of them and as a result, he led the Miners with a career-high 16 points.
"Will was definitely a spark and fun to watch," Fine said. "I thought he did a good job providing effort defensively first. He played defense first and didn’t really score early and then, all of a sudden, [points] started coming in bunches. He was great tonight and a huge part of the reason we had a chance to win that game."
Lecher finished with eight points and senior Josh Jennings added seven. Seniors Drew Fleming (five), Jake Overson (two) and Nesta Heaps (two) also contributed offensively.
Despite an overall record of 1-16 (0-3 in Region 10), Fine said he still believes in this year’s team. He said he hopes the Miners find internal motivation to keep working hard.
"That’s going to come from them," he said. "The coaching staff is still going to come and fight every day. We believe we can still find a way to get [a win] and that’s going to be the goal. We’re not going to settle. I believe we have the young men on this team that can fight if they choose to."
The quest for a region victory won’t get any easier for Park City when it travels to Grantsville on Wednesday night.
"They’re a tough team," Fine said. "Their coach comes from the East Coast and likes to run a lot of isolation plays to give their players opportunities to make plays and score. We’re going to have to do a good job getting to the help side and making sure we don’t get blown by defensively, which we have a tendency to do. They’re going to play a tough, physical brand of basketball — that’s what they bring. We’re going to have to match it and that’s going to be hard on the road."
Park City’s next home game is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2, against Union. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at PCHS.
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The Miners ended up on the wrong side of a close game on senior night but are still fighting for playoff seeding.