The Saratoga Sun -

Miners drop hard fought battle with Encampment

Miners hold own for three quarters, coach praises 'best team in the state'


January 9, 2019

Mike Armstrong

Miner Devon Grosstick goes up to prevent a basket by a Tiger player at the game on Saturday at HEM.

"Encampment is a good basketball team," Cliff Jones, Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) High School head basketball said. "They are ranked number one and are undefeated. That isn't a 'maybe the team is good', they are good and proved it again today."

Jones said he was pleased how the Miners did overall against the Tigers.

"I thought, except for about a six to seven minute stretch, we played with them," Jones said. "We played well, other than the second quarter where we got 2 points to their 22."

Jones said a team cannot let a team like Encampment start getting on a roll.

"You have to put a stop to it or the next thing you know, they are on an eight point run," Jones said. "We failed to do that during that run."

He said he thought about calling more timeouts as the game started to get out of control, but believes it is important for a team to figure out what they are doing wrong on their own as the game starts going in the wrong direction.

Jones pointed out the Miners played competitively with the Tigers in all the other quarters.

In the first quarter, the Tigers were ahead 19-14 but the Miners looked to be keeping pace.

The second quarter was entirely different. The Miners were shooting long shots and missing, while the Tigers were aggressively in the paint to score although they proved they could also shoot from the outside during the quarter.

"That is what Encampment is really good at," Jones said. "There is no let up. You can't take a break physically or mentally on the court because they are going to attack you."

The score at half time was 41-16 with the Tigers ahead by 25 points.

Jones credits Tigers Head Coach Jake Johnston.

"I think he does a good job with those kids in getting them to play and buying into the fact you play hard," Jones said. "We only shot three free throws the whole game, and none of them in the first half, whereas Encampment shot a total of 16. That wasn't because of poor officiating, but because Encampment finished hard at the basket, where we tended not to."

He said the Miners settled for the long shot too many times.

"At halftime I told them we were going to make a concerted effort to pass the ball off to Shane (McGraw) and he had 10 points in the third quarter," Jones said. "The third quarter we actually outscored Encampment 23-18."

Mike Armstrong

Tiger Dalton Peterson played with intensity against the HEM Miners on Saturday.

The fourth quarter, the Tigers put up 19 points to the Miners 14 points making the final score 69-52. Given the halftime 25 point deficit, losing by 17 was actually a positive for the team.

"We were not super aggressive offensively and that was our problem," Jones said. "We can't settle for 12 to 15 foot shots, because they are the hardest to make and if you don't make them, you have a second quarter like we did."

Conor McGraw scored 22 points, S. McGraw had 14 and Basil Phillips scored 8 points.

Jones said the team needed more balance in scoring. No other player scored more than 3 points.

Jones said there was good to be taken from the loss.

"I told them in the locker room, we just played 25 minutes with the best team in the state," Jones said. "Now we have to figure out to play that way for 32 minutes."

The next scheduled game is at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 against Rawlins JV in Rawlins.


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