Bingham’s youthful girls basketball team is growing up fast.
Unfortunately, so is its coach. The Miners’ roster, which features eight sophomores and four freshmen, gave coach Rand Rasmussen a few more grey hairs Thursday night while claiming an exciting 56-53 victory over Taylorsville in a Region 3 game.
The win improved Bingham’s record to 15-3 overall and 8-1 in Region 3. It also kept Bingham in a tie for first place with Riverton with just four games remaining, including next Tuesday’s contest that will likely decide the region winner.
“There’s so much to talk about this game,” Rasmussen said. “The thing I’m proud about most is that we won a big game. And that’s the nice thing about Bingham the kids get to play in big games.”
Sophomore Jillian Powell connected on a 3-pointer from the left corner with 3.9 seconds left, and that was the deciding score. Bingham held on to the ball for the final three minutes. Guard Leticia Lewis just stood near midcourt with the ball in hand – not moving – for most of it while the Warriors refused to come out of their zone.
“I thought it was a good idea,” said Taylorsville coach Jace Hymas, whose team is 11-6 overall and 7-3 in region, which should be good for third place. “We were tired, and they’re quicker than we were. I didn’t want to give up an easy layup.”
Bingham called timeout with 15 seconds left and, after a few passes against Taylorsville’s harried defense, Powell was open and drained the winning shot.
“The play wasn’t called for Powell,” said Rasmussen. “It was for any one of four different shooters. But she was wide open and took the shot. It’s great. She’s going to grow up in one night.”
The basket was the final touch as the Miners rallied from a 10-point deficit. They did it after surviving one of the most impressive offensive exhibitions anywhere this season. Taylorsville trailed 17-7 to start the second quarter, but Whitney Mitchell, Siu Lo’amanu and Katie Greenberg keyed the Warriors’ strongest offensive outburst in years. They started the quarter with a quick 9-2 run to get back into the game. But it didn’t stop until the buzzer.
Taylorsville ended up ripping the nets for 30 points during that eight-minute span.
“I’ve been here (at Taylorsville) for 15 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Hymas. “Bingham came out and kind of hit us in the mouth. In the second quarter, we punched them right back.”
Taylorsville made 13-of-19 shots in that period, including four 3-pointers. Mitchell was the initiator. She had 14 of her 18 points by halftime and led the Warriors’ sprint off the court as though they had just won the championship. Unfortunately, the Warriors were just 5 of 23 from the field for the rest of the game.
Taylorsville led 37-31 at halftime and eventually built the margin to 10 points before Bingham began to rally. The Miners, who consistently play 11 different players, frequently substituting five at a time, seemed to wear down the Warriors and finally claimed the lead again early in the third quarter when senior guard Summer Yack stole the ball and dashed downcourt for a layup.
“The rest of the game was like a Rocky Balboa movie,” Hymas said.
Bruce Smith is owner of Matchup, a Utah-based company that provides high school sports teams with game programs and other publications. For information, see www.matchupUT.com.