SALT LAKE CITY — Blame it on the unforgiving rims or the cold weather. Blame it on Judge Memorial’s defensive intensity or maybe, just maybe, it was the “Fieldhouse Ghost” Wednesday night.
Whatever scenario might have influenced Park City — most likely a combination of Judge’s defense and poor shooting (poltergeists aside) — the Miners simply couldn’t buy a bucket.
And the Bulldogs reaped the benefits mightily in their one-sided 53-38 region win at home.
“I don’t know if it was easy,” Judge coach Dan Del Porto said. “I think they’re a real good team. But yeah I’ll certainly take a 15-point win in region play right now.”
The Bulldogs — a physical, yet undersized bunch — dictated the lower paint from the opening tip, knowing Park City’s tendencies to settle for outside jumpers. In the first half the Miners only attempted one shot within 7 feet of the hoop. Overall, Judge limited PC to 12 of 40 from the field — with nearly half of the attempts occurring from beyond the arc.
“I don’t know if that’s really what they do,” Del Porto said when asked if he was surprised that Park City never threatened inside. “They’ve got a couple sets where they try and get the ball inside but that really didn’t surprise me. They’re not a traditional post-up team at all.”
Park City momentarily appeared in sync midway through the first quarter after going scoreless for the opening four minutes. Trailing 6-0, the Miners (7-10, 3-2) closed the quarter on a 10-3 run.
But it all went downhill from there.
The Bulldogs (13-5, 4-1) opened the second quarter on 9-0 run with two buckets from Ryan Pauley, a 3-pointer from Terrell Young and another gimme by Joe Cremer.
The bleeding didn't stop.
Judge limited Park City to four total points in the second quarter and after halftime didn’t allow a point until midway in the third quarter.
“Our defense was real good tonight,” Del Porto said. “We definitely made a concerted effort to defend tonight and I think they did a good job.”
The Miners came within single digits only once with 7:03 remaining in the fourth quarter when Hayden Daily rattled home a 3 ball to pull within 36-27. However, on the ensuing possession, Judge’s Kaden Elliss capitalized on a well-timed pick-and-roll for two to extend the lead back to double figures permanently.
Young finished with a game-high 14 points with four 3-pointers and Cremer added 13 points.
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