Boys Basketball Wins First Region Game Amidst Program Struggles

Brewster Hutchinson, Sports Editor

On Tuesday Feb. 1, the Miners won their first region game of the year at Skyline. Seniors Cutter LaPine and Luke Varechok led the scoring effort with 18 points and 16 points, respectively, along with sophomore Duke Gordon putting up 13 points on three 3-pointers. The Miners record jumps to 3-11, while Skyline falls to 10-6.


After a 2-0 start for Park City Boys Varsity Basketball and a 3-0 start for the Girls Varsity team, both programs have hit a major rough stretch, resulting in a 3-11 record for the boys and a 3-12 record for the girls.


The Boys Varsity team finished January with a record of 2-11, coming off a 36 point loss to the 16-1 Olympus Titans on Jan. 28. Seniors Luke Varechok and Cutter LaPine lead the Miners, averaging 12.1 and 11.2 points, respectively. 


The Miners started 2-0 with a convincing win over Rowland Hall and a nail-biting win against the non-conference Morgan Trojans on Dec. 1. Since then, the Miners had gone winless, up until their win against Skyline. They are currently sitting in last place in their region, with a region record of 1-6.


Outside of their region, the Miners have played better than their 2-5 non-region record may indicate. Four of their five non-region losses were by fewer than 11 points, including an overtime loss to Logan on Dec. 12. 


However, once region play began in 2022, the Miners entered a rough stretch. After three consecutive 30+ point losses to Olympus, Highland, and Murray to start region play, the Miners had a hard time trying to stay competitive. 


Additionally, Park City had three games rescheduled in early January after multiple players tested positive for COVID. The region games were rescheduled for later in January and February, resulting in a condensed schedule towards the end of the season. The Miners have four games next week, and they will look to get hot at the right time and turn their season around.


Junior guard Khai Lockwood expressed optimism in his team down the stretch. 


“We’re a much better team than we’ve showed, and I have a lot of optimism for the rest of the season, because I think we’re through the toughest part of our season, and the team has come together, even through the tough times and all the losses,” said Lockwood.


Park City has struggled to find success in their region since moving up to 5A in 2019. Since taking over prior to the 2019-20 season, Coach Thomas Purcell has led the Miners to a 15-42 record as of midway through his third season. A pair of 6 win seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21 has kept the Miners far from a state championship in recent seasons. The Miners are still searching for their first winning record in a season since 2014-15, when they had a record of 15-8.


On a similar note, the girls basketball team started off hot with three straight wins in late November and early December against Kearns, Ben Lomond, and Tooele. Since Dec. 3, the girls have suffered 12 straight losses.


Their losing streak includes six non-region games and six region games. The girls squad is currently last in their 5A region with a 3-12 record, but only one game behind Murray High, whom they lost to 44-38 on Jan. 21. 


The Miners suffered a major loss when junior Ava Kimche and senior Sam Riely left the team last week. Kimche and Riely were the two team scoring leaders, leaving the girls squad with a tough outlook on the rest of the season. 


In addition to being the scoring leader this year as a junior, Kimche also led the girls in scoring as a sophomore in 2020-21 and as a freshman in 2019-20, according to Deseret News’ High School Sports statistics. 


The girls have five remaining games, with three at home. Their home games are versus Skyline on Feb. 1, against Highlands on Feb. 11, and their final game, versus East on Feb. 18.