Trio of juniors are reason for optimism for Park City girls basketball team
As the Park City High School girls basketball team’s season continues on, it’s been a little difficult for the Miners to stay focused on the present when the future is looking better and better each day.
Armed with the youngest team in Region 8, this season was all set for the Miners and coach Brett Isaacson to be used as a learning experience with hopes of taking the necessary steps forward to make next season better.
But despite the “learning experiences” as Isaacson has called them throughout the season, Park City finds itself 2-14 overall and 0-9 in region play, with its most recent loss coming in a 63-21 defeat at the hands of Springville.
“It’s difficult because on one end, our youth is allowing us to grow together as a team and could pay huge dividends over the next couple of seasons,” Isaacson said. “But on the other end, it’s hard because we are so much younger than other teams and that hasn’t been translating to wins on the court. So we are trying to find that balance of youth where it helps us over the next few years but still be successful this season.”
Even with the losses piling up, progress is being made according to Isaacson, who’s continuing to keep things lighthearted. In a joking manner, he talked about how the losses aren’t as lopsided as they were at the beginning of the season to help show progress. But more than anything, Isaacson is noticing the changes in some of his players who’ve really stepped up as the season has gone on.
“We’d be lost without Caroline (Cook), she’s stepped up big time for us and playing the game the way we are trying to teach it,” Isaacson said. “Marly (Parkinson) has also improved a lot, taking steps forward and just being more competitive all the way around. Anna (Kaiserman) is also a lot more aggressive this year, actively looking for her own shot when she has the ball.”
Cook, the junior guard, has really elevated her game over the past few weeks.
Offensively she’s making strides to become the team’s leading scorer, averaging 16 points per game over the previous three games while also being the team’s leading rebounder. On the defensive side of the ball, Cook is more active by jumping into passing lanes, trapping at correct moments and reading the ball of the shot to track down rebounds.
“I’ve been really impressed with her as the season has gone on, especially because she plays hard all the time and never takes a play off,” Isaacson said. “She’s picking up the little nuances of the game, playing way more instinctually with tons more confidence. She’s actually reading the game instead of just reacting and now dictating things out on the court.”
Fellow juniors Parkinson and Kaiserman have also taken strides forward, but have done so in much different manners.
Parkinson had never played basketball before this season, spending her time on the pitch as a rugby player instead. But as the season has gone on, she’s beginning to learn the nuances of the game, and that’s now shown on the court. “She’s figuring things out, especially in terms of moving on the court, both on and off the ball,” Isaacson said. “She’s the one that’s really gotten a ton better physically and just gets after it. If she can put in the time during the offseason, she’ll continue to make a lot of growth and help us out a lot next year.”
Where Parkinson has slowly been learning the finer points, Kaiserman has been taking her game to the next level.
Armed with previous basketball experience and knowledge, Kaiserman has taken a much more active role on offense for the Miners. She’s more comfortable catching the ball and facing up to her defender, using jab steps and shot fakes to help score.
“She’s been way more aggressive this year for us, looking for her shot and to actually make plays out there on the court,” Isaacson said. “Not a lot of the girls on the are looking to make the plays but she is. Basketball can’t be scripted every second of every game and Anna is picking that up. … She’s realizing that sometimes you have to go out and make things happen.”
Regardless of how this season finishes out, Isaacson believes the future will be brighter for his team. But with the growth of players like Cook, Parkinson and Kaiserman, that confidence he has in his team is now validated by the proof he’s seeing on the court.
“Everything we’ve struggled with on the court, it’s been tough to not only handle but overcome,” Isaacson said. “Hopefully some of the other girls can take some of the steps forward as these three have, and then I think we could find ourselves in a good spot.”
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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.