Wildcats upset Miners
When coach Dusty Hatch and the South Summit High School boys’ basketball team watched their seven-point fourth-quarter lead quickly evaporate at the hands of Park City’s Bosten Van Der Veur, Hatch couldn’t help but fear the worst.
Leading 33-26 entering the final eight minutes on Saturday night in Kamas, the Wildcats watched as Van Der Veur got out in transition and scored two quick and easy buckets, drawing fouls on both made shots and tacking on the free throws. He was also fouled on another shot attempt, making both free throws.
Just like that, it was Park City 34, South Summit 33.
"I was thinking ‘Here we go again,’" Hatch said. "We were up by seven and then all of a sudden, just like that, we’re down by one."
But the Wildcats didn’t panic, quickly regaining a 47-40 lead en route to a 52-45 victory over the Miners.
"I thought it was a great credit to them that they didn’t let a one-point [Park City] lead become a five-point or 10-point lead, because it very easily could have," Hatch said of his players.
After a rough weekend in which the Wildcats lost all three games they played at the Bear River Winter Classic, Hatch was proud of the way his team battled against a tough 3A opponent.
Senior forward Beau Rydalch had been carrying the bulk of the scoring load all season, but Hatch challenged other players to step up on Saturday night, and senior Brad Richins answered the call. Richins and Rydalch each had 18 points for South Summit.
"I thought my other guys really stepped up," Hatch said. "Beau struggled tonight scoring. They did a good job defensively on him and he was missing easy shots. A lot of his points came late in the game and on free throws. But tonight, Brad was more engaged. I wanted him to get in a rhythm. Tonight, more than getting in a rhythm, I thought he was mentally engaged in the game. You could just tell before the game he was more prepared to play."
Richins said that playing at home always helps his energy as well.
"It was nice to be home," he said. "Last weekend, we had a rough weekend at Bear River, so I knew we had to come out and play. Beau’s been doing a lot of our scoring, so I had to help him. I just shot more and they went down tonight."
The Wildcats also employed a full-court press for the first time on Saturday night, frustrating the Miners offensively.
"Early on, it was giving us problems," Park City coach Caleb Fine said of the press. "What gave us the bigger problems wasn’t necessarily the turnovers, it was the quick shots out of it. We don’t need to jack up quick shots just because they are in a press."
Fine added that there were some bright spots offensively, including Van Der Veur, who led all scorers with 24 points, but he thought the team had regressed slightly since a strong showing at the Provo Tip-Off Tournament last weekend.
"It’s hard to lose a game like this," he said. "Give South Summit a lot of credit they wanted it more than us and they were the better team tonight."
Now, the Miners and Wildcats face much different practice schedules. The Miners played Logan on Monday night at home (after this issue went to press). The Wildcats won’t play again until Jan. 8.
Hatch said he tried to reschedule a game for Jan. 3, but couldn’t finalize anything in time.
"I hate the long layoff," he said. "You practice for 10 days without a game and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to practice on. But we’re going to keep working on the press and we’ve started to look to push the ball a little bit more, so we’ll work on those two things."
South Summit’s next home game is on Wednesday, Jan. 15, against Manti. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Park City will return home on Friday, Jan. 10, to take on Grantsville. That game is also scheduled for 7 p.m.
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