SOUTH JORDAN — The Bingham girls basketball team hustled into the locker room after a win against Timpanogos last Friday and immediately asked their coach a question.
"We get in the locker room and the first thing they said is, 'Coach, we are practicing at 6:30 a.m. aren't we?' And I said 'Yes, why?' And they started listing all of the things they needed to get better at," said Bingham head coach Rand Rasmussen after the Miners stayed undefeated with a 53-35 victory over Weber on Tuesday night. "Most kids on a Friday night after a victory are going to say, 'Do we have to come to practice tomorrow?' This team is the opposite. It's a really fun group."
That group showed why they are the state's top-ranked team Tuesday with a dominating defensive performance that led them to the win against the Warriors. The Miners' physicality and depth helped them keep the momentum for all but about two minutes of the game. Bingham led 27-15 at halftime, with the Warriors struggling to get their shots to fall. Weber also had 11 turnovers in the first half, most of which led to Miner points.
But after the halftime break, the Warriors took just a minute and 40 seconds to score seven straight points.
Rasmussen signaled for a timeout.
"I told them, 'I guess we'll find out how good you are now,' " he said. "It's easy when you're on top. How are you when they're making a run? I thought they handled it fine, at least today."
Rasmussen said the team's chemistry is part of the reason the squad already seems to be performing well in most aspects of the game.
"To me, that's as important as having good players," said Rasmussen. "They played hard for 32 straight minutes. You've got to give them credit for that. Now is that going to be good enough? We'll find out."
The win was Rasmussen's 450th as a head coach, something he credits to having "good players and good parents."
Two of those good players are captain Jillian Powell and forward Mackenzie Bruggeman. Bruggeman loves basketball so much, she's played with a broken nose since last season because she didn't want to miss the club basketball season, which followed last year's high school season.
"I honestly don't know," she said of how she broke her nose. "It's my senior year, and I didn't want to miss any of it."
The senior, who committed to Snow College along with teammates Powell and Ashton Henderson, now wears a mask to protect her surgically repaired nose. And it not only looks a little like something from a horror movie, but it also impedes her vision a little.
"Not much because she still scored 17 points," said Powell with a smile. Powell added nine points and Sheradyn Parker finished with 11 points.
Bingham's strengths have always been tough defense and a balanced offense. That hasn't changed this season and Powell said what they do to stop the other team, energizes them offensively.
"It's a pride thing," she said. "We don't want to let people score on us."
The Warriors struggled to get any offensive momentum going, in part because of turnovers. They finished the game with 33 turnovers. Offensively, they were led by senior Erin Reichle, who scored 18 points, including two 3-pointers.
"It's the little things for us," said Weber head coach Rick Stoeckl. "It's a rebound here, a missed shot there. With a good team like Bingham, if you don't score for four or five possessions, all of a sudden you're looking at a double-digit deficit."
The Warriors have talent, they just have to find faith in themselves. Some of their struggles are attributable to returning just one varsity starter.
"We've got a long way to go, but they work hard," he said. "I hope I can get them to think about their potential. They're a really good team."
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