Snow Canyon boys basketball has trouble against zone defense, loses home opener to Park City 59-51

ST. GEORGE — Snow Canyon opened up their boys basketball season at home against fellow Class 4A team Park City. The Miners controlled most of the first half, heading into the locker room up 28-23. Coming out of the locker room the Warriors took one of their first leads of the game at the five minute mark of the third quarter. The game was tight throughout the fourth quarter, but the Miners were able to get the win, 59-51.

Park City came out in a zone and stayed in it the entire game. This flustered the Warriors a bit, but they were able to get good looks. Their ball movement was great, they just were not able to capitalize on some wide open three point shots. Their defense was active to start the game, but they lapsed on their closeouts and dribble drives.

There were numerous times where the Warriors closed out on a shooter with their hands down, and the Miners player drained it. Having dealt with a zone for the first time in a live game situation, Snow Canyon looked a little unnerved. Head coach Doug Meacham attributed it to some first game jitters.

“We had wide open looks, I don’t remember us taking a bad three,” Meacham said. “When we’re not making shots I think we got tight. That rim started to get smaller and smaller on the offensive end and then we were a little too casual with the ball. We have to really value possessions down the stretch.”

Cole Warner said the team had been running most of their man to man sets, taking this as a learning experience for his team to start the season. He said the team didn’t really make many changes at halftime, as they continued to have good ball movement that led to open shots.

Snow Canyon vs Park City, St. George, Utah, Nov. 26, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News / Cedar City News

As for the empty possessions down the stretch, Snow Canyon was up 46-43 with about four minutes left. That’s when the game began to go back and forth until Park City scored on a layup to make it 55-51. The Warriors had the ball and began to bring it up the court when they turned it over, capitalizing with the layup that extended the lead to three with 50 seconds left. Snow Canyon was forced to foul, but when Park City missed the first free throw, they were unable to get the rebound. This happened three times down the stretch for the Warriors.

“We were so focused on getting the ball out of bounds, it’s just the little things,” Warner said of the Park City offensive rebounds. “You could say they were taller than us but it really just comes down to effort. We had a little mental lapse and lack of effort and they capitalized on it.”

The biggest difference was the three quarter court, zone pressure that Park City ran the entire game. They were trapping in the half court often, and it gave the Warriors some problems. They threw soft arching passes to break the zone and did not attack the zone defensive often.

“It caused us to be passive,” Meacham said. “We needed to get some running outlets and attack it earlier and we didn’t. We were content to come get a handoff and let them setup in their press. Give them credit for coming at us and making us not be the aggressor.”

Snow Canyon vs Park City, St. George, Utah, Nov. 26, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News / Cedar City News

Both Meacham and Warner took this game as a learning experience, but so did Crimson Cliffs, Dixie and Hurricane, who were all at Snow Canyon to watch the Warriors. All three head coaches, as well as players, were busy scouting their Region 9 opponent. After seeing how effective the Park City zone was, combined with Snow Canyon’s inability to make shots, they’ll be running some zone come region play.

“Guess what they’re going to do, they’re going to come out and do some of the same things,” Meacham said. “That’s OK, we’ll be ready.”

Snow Canyon’s next game will be against Parowan on Dec. 4. That will be another good test for the Warriors on the road at Parowan, with the Rams coming off of a second place finish in the 2A state tournament last season.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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