RIVERTON — It doesn't matter where the game is played. It doesn't matter when the two teams meet. It doesn't matter who is wearing the uniforms.
When Bingham and Riverton meet on the basketball court — no matter what — the game is a thriller.
"We could play in a parking lot and it would be a two-point game," said Miners head coach Rand Rasmussen after Bingham came-from-behind to beat the Silverwolves on their home court 61-57. "That had to be a fun game to watch."
And it was.
Riverton scored first and led most of the game. Their lead, however, was never more than six points. The Silverwolves relied on sophomore Jamie Smith's ball-handling skills and junior Morganne Campbell's shooting. Campbell was battling shin splints and cramps but still led the team with 19 points. Smith scored six points and senior Kylee Hogue added 10 points in the loss.
The Silverwolves post players outrebounded Bingham, especially in the first half.
"Riverton kills a lot of teams on the boards," said Rasmussen.
The one thing Riverton couldn't shutdown, however, was senior forward Brooke Blonquist.
"She had a monster game," said Riverton head coach Ron Ence.
Rasmussen said it was nice to see her bounce back after the team's loss to Taylorsville earlier this week.
"She had a good touch, some good moves, and we couldn't afford to lose," Rasmussen said.
He said he was brutally honest with his young team about what might happen come tournament time if they didn't win at Riverton Thursday.
"I said, 'If you lose this one, you can start thinking about third place,' " said Rasmussen.
Blonquist said the coach's honesty only inspired the players.
"Mentally we were just ready to go," said Blonquist, who led all scorers with 23 points. "We knew we could win if we just played together as a team. And defense is our key."
The team's point guard Summer Yack added 15 points and she ran the offense with a cool head.
"She's a team player," said Blonquist.
Rasmussen said he had no reservations about leveling with his young team after the heartbreaking loss to Taylorsville.
"I put pressure on them, sure," he said. "But if you can't play with pressure, then you probably can't play at Bingham."
He said he was pleased with his team's effort, especially after losing a close one on Tuesday.
"I need some sleep," he said smiling. "Taylorsville and Riverton in one week is tough."
Both coaches praised the play of all of the players.
"Both teams played hard," said Ence. "Both teams are very young. It was a great game, very well played. I'm proud of our kids that we had our chances to beat such a high ranked team. And they deserve the credit (Bingham) because they came back and won it, led by (Blonquist)."
When asked about the fact that every meeting, regardless of the season or the line-ups, turns out to be a nail-biter, Ence didn't hesitate.
"There is respect there," he said.
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