Miners Top First Two Opponents at Home

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Senior Luke Varechok (photo credit to @parkrecord on Instagram)

Brewster Hutchinson, Sports Editor

The Miners Boys Varsity Basketball team has started their regular season 2-0 to kick off their 2021-22 season with statement wins over Rowland Hall and Morgan High School, both at home. 

 

Park City took on Rowland Hall at home on Nov. 23rd for their first matchup of the season, against a non-region opponent. Rowland Hall competes in the 2A conference, while Park City competes in 5A. From the jump, the Miners dominated, going into halftime leading 47-22 following a 28-point explosion in the second quarter.

 

Park City cruised through the second half en route to a 85-69 victory for their first win of the season. The Miners were led by senior Cutter LaPine, who scored 22 points off of four three-pointers, as well as junior Matthew Hale, who put up 19 points including five threes. Rowland Hall was led by senior Ozzie Smith who finished with a game-high 33 points and six three pointers.

 

On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Park City returned to The Shaft and took on the 3A Morgan Trojans. The Miners started off strong, jumping to a 20-8 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to their aggressive defense and buckets from senior Sebastian Wolf. Park City led at halftime at a score of 32-18, with some subtle indications of another blowout.

 

However, Morgan rallied back in the third quarter, thanks to some offensive stagnation from the Miners. The Trojans held the Miners to only 5 points in the third, entering the fourth quarter with a slight 37-30 Park City lead.

 

The fourth quarter began with a 9-2 Morgan run, where they were able to tie up the game at 39-39 with four minutes remaining in the fourth. This was the first time Morgan had been tied with the Miners since the game had been tipped off at 0-0. A three-pointer from junior Khai Lockwood put the Miners back up by three, but Morgan retaliated with a three of their own. After another Morgan basket and a successful made free throw from Park City, the score was 44-43 Morgan entering the final minute.

 

Another basket from each team left the score at 46-45 with only 30 seconds remaining, and Park City in possession. The Miners had a chance to take the lead, but they turned the ball over and were forced to intentionally foul Aiden Harris, a Morgan guard with only seven seconds remaining in the game. Due to the exceptionally loud crowd noise, the Park City gym was a difficult place to shoot free-throws for Morgan players all night, culminating in only a 5 for 12 performance from the free-throw line from the Trojans. Harris missed his first free-throw but made the second, putting the score at 47-45 Morgan.

 

LaPine celebrating with students (photo credit to @parkrecord on Instagram)

With only seven seconds on the clock, Park City moved the ball down court quickly to try and tie or take the lead with a three pointer. Miner point guard Cutter LaPine put up a three and was fouled with 1.2 seconds remaining. LaPine went to the free-throw line for three shots and a chance to secure the win for Park City. He made the first and second shot, tying the game at 47-47, followed by a Morgan timeout. LaPine returned to the line for a game winning free throw, and sank it. Time expired with the Miners on top, 48-47. 

 

The Miners ultimately moved to 2-0 on the season behind clutch free-throw shooting from LaPine and a game-high 17 points from Sebastian Wolf. Morgan fell to 1-1 but will be strong competitors for the 3A state championship come the spring.

 

The Miners have a December full of non-region matchups but will begin region play in early January at home against Olympus. Following that, they will have 10-straight region matchups into mid-February, then will compete in the state playoffs.