Stellar defense, commitment power Miners to girls basketball state title
Mar 19, 2019 01:41PM
● By Justin Adams
Bingham players hoist the Class 6A championship trophy following their 46-41 win over Copper Hills on Feb. 23. (Photo by Pat McDonald)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
State championships are nothing new at Bingham. The high school has added another prize to its trophy case.
The girls basketball team capped a strong state tournament with a 46-41 victory over Copper Hills in the title game, played Feb. 23. The Miners won four playoff games over a six-day span, holding each opponent to less than 43 points. The suffocating defense wasn’t surprising; Bingham allowed just 45.8 points per game all season.
Winning the state title was the culmination of another successful season for the program. Head coach Charron Mason was thrilled with the accomplishment. It was Bingham’s first state title since 2007.
“It’s awesome!” Mason said of the victory and state crown. “It’s so amazing and fun. There are so many emotions. It was an incredible week with positive energy; it made every game fun. Winning the championship was a dream come true. It was a cool achievement for the players. They worked hard for it.”
Winning the top prize in Class 6A helped ease some wounds from last season when the Miners came up short in the state championship game against Fremont. The victory over Copper Hills also avenged a loss to the Miners’ West Jordan neighbors from earlier this season when Bingham narrowly lost 53-51 on Dec. 5.
In the final state tournament contest, the Miners jumped out to an 11-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, making it difficult for Copper Hills to get into its offense. Things tightened up from there, as the Grizzlies responded with a 14-8 run in the second to cut Bingham’s halftime advantage to 19-17.
In the third quarter, the Miners allowed nine points and scored 14 of its own to increase their lead to 33-26 heading into the final six minutes of play. From there, Bingham showed poise and composure to capture the championship trophy.
“We wanted to play tough defense at state,” Mason said. “We had to get better. The girls worked hard at state and held teams to less than they were averaging. We made good steps as a team.”
Senior star Maggie McCord made the game difficult for Copper Hills. She had 25 points, six rebounds and four assists in the contest. She picked a great time to tie her season high in scoring. No one else reached double figures in scoring, though Madison Jones tallied six points and seven rebounds to go with a pair of steals.
“The feeling was different this year,” Mason said. “The girls has positive energy and wanted to play for each other. We hit free throws down the stretch. The girls didn’t act rattled. They were confident.”
Bingham took first in Region 4 with a 7-1 record. In the playoffs, the Miners reached the title game with a first-round victory over Layton, 66-40; a quarterfinals win over Taylorsville, 63-39; and a narrow victory over Fremont in the semifinals, 46-42, getting revenge from last year’s championship contest loss.
The Miners lost six games in non-region play, but Mason wasn’t worried. She purposefully scheduled some difficult games because she knew it would get her squad ready for the rigorous league slate and the postseason.
“We had had a challenging season altogether,” she said. “The preseason set us up for Region 4. It taught us how to compete. Every game was challenging; we couldn’t take a day off. Region 4 helped prepare us for state.”
Mason has to replace McCord, who averaged 17.5 points per game this season. However, the Miners will have plenty of experience and talent in 2019–20. Juniors Jaycee Lichtie, Ameleya Angilau and Samantha Holman, who each averaged more than seven points per game, all come back next season. Jones and Kasia Higgins will also return for their senior seasons.