TAYLORSVILLE — The No. 3 seed out of Region 1 is headed to the semifinals thanks in large part to impressive play from junior Erin Reichle.
Reichle dished out 21 points in the 52-40 victory over Bingham to help keep alive the dream of a first-ever Weber High girls basketball championship. The tenacious guard went 8-of-8 from the line and sunk three 3-pointers in the win. "Once I shot that first one (3-pointer), I just felt it," she said.
The Warriors met Bingham back in preseason and suffered a loss.
Weber head coach Rick Stoeckle attributes the different outcome to his team's improvement on the defensive end of the court. "We've gotten better, and we're playing better defense," he said, noting the charges taken by the Warriors in the first half. "It's something we have been working on everyday."
Stoeckl couldn't give his defense all of the credit however. "Having Summer Yack out makes a big difference on their team," he admitted.
"She's their leader. That was a downer on them."
Yack, who led Bingham in scoring with 17 points per game, went out with a torn ACL a few weeks prior to the playoffs and the loss was tough to swallow. Despite her absence, the young Bingham squad put up a valiant fight, taking the upper hand in the third.
The Miners carried the lead, 27-26 with three minutes remaining in the quarter. The momentum shift was short lived, however, as Reichle stepped up and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to regain the lead, 32-27.
Bingham was unable to close the gap any further and the Warriors capitalized on their opportunities when they mattered most.
"We've got great guards that were able to make big shots down the stretch," Stoeckle said.
Erica Olpin has been the team's leading scorer all year and was able to contribute 13 points in the win. The senior's leadership has proved to be invaluable thus far in the tournament and will be a great help as the team advances. Teammate and fellow guard Cheyenne Tanner wasn't far behind with 12 points for the Warriors.
"We're really experienced, and we know what to do when it comes down to crunch time," Reichle said of the team's guard line up and their senior-laden roster. "We can execute and we all mesh really well."
Stoeckle agreed, "It makes my job easier," he said. "A lot of what they're doing out there, they just do."
Weber's Kristine Broome suffered an injury three weeks ago and a No. 2 was written on each girl's calf in honor of the senior.
"We're dedicating this whole tournament to her," Reichle said.
The team finished third in Region 1 with a 6-4 record. Two of the losses came from top-ranked Syracuse. The caliber of the region provided plenty of experience and allowed the talented team to fly somewhat under the radar entering this year's tournament.
With the win, Weber advances to the semifinal round where they'll take on Riverton.
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