Nothing changed in 16 days.
Behind 34 points from Barton (18) and Chin (16), the Bengals defeated the Grizzlies once again, 56-53, on Thursday night.
“Proud of their efforts,” Brighton coach Jim Gresh said. “ ... It was a close game. Good job by (Copper Hills) — good job coming back. We’ll take the win on the road. It’s a big win for us.”
However, in reality it was only close in the first half. The Bengals established an 11-point lead after the end of the third quarter and eventually inserted role players midway into the fourth. The Grizzlies capitalized on the inexperience, and behind four straight 3-pointers in the waning minutes, they made Brighton's final margin of victory small.
Copper Hills went without a field goal until there was 3:32 remaining in the first quarter, not particularly because of Brighton, but rather simply because they missed shots, including a point-blank, uncontested layup. It wasn't until later that Brighton’s defensive intensity and noticeable size advantage influenced Copper Hills offensively.
During the drought, the Bengals established a marginal lead behind Chin, who scored the first six points of the game before she picked up her second foul with 2:03 remaining in the first quarter on a charge call.
In her absence, Barton elevated her game, specifically on the offensive glass. After scoring only four points in the first quarter, she delivered a 12-point second to help Brighton keep its head above water while Chin rested.
“She had some great minutes," Gresh said of Barton. “She did some great things.”
As the game appeared to favor Brighton, Sarah Midgley responded for Copper Hills, which proved to be a recurring theme throughout the game. She hit two 3-pointers — one as the first field goal at 3:32 and the other as time expired to end the first quarter trailing by one, 13-12.
Midgley finished with a game-high 19 points with six 3-pointers, while teammate Savannah Sandberg chipped in 10 points, including a layup with 5:45 left in the first half to give Copper Hills its first lead, 19-18.
The teams exchanged baskets when Midgley knotted the score at 27-27, but on the ensuing possession on the opposite end Barton completed her second and-one layup for her 14, 15 and 16th points of the game.
Brighton’s superiority began to evidence itself once again to start the third quarter when Chin returned to action. She bucketed four quick points — all from within the paint — but again her rhythm was interrupted by foul trouble. With 2:55 left in the third she picked up two fouls on the same possession.
Yet, still Chin finished with 16 points — in large part due to her work on the offensive glass.
“Big at the end of the game — made some big baskets,” Gresh said of Chin.
With a comfortable lead, Brighton was content on expanding possessions, although several ended empty-handed. The lack of results, however, weren’t damaging to the cause as they got multiple one-shot, defensive stops at the other end of the court. The Bengals appeared to put the game fully out of reach with four minutes remaining with a quick seven points from Chin and Lindsey Johnson on a mid-range jumper, a wing 3-pointer and two freebies until the Grizzlies' late surge.