TAYLORSVILLE — The Bingham Miners may be a perennial girls basketball power, but it has been since 2014 that they have reached the semifinals of the state basketball tournament.
Coach Charron Mason reached that coveted spot in the postseason in her first year, and her junior-laden squad made sure the Miners got there again Thursday afternoon with an impressive 61-36 win over Northridge in a 6A quarterfinal at Salt Lake Community College.
“When the girls play as well as they did and play tough, it’s a whole lot of fun,” said Mason, who was smiling brightly after her team improved to 18-6 overall and earned a date against Copper Hills in the semis Friday afternoon.
“We had to play team defense and I knew it would take everybody to go out and play well in the game.”
Led by Makuei and McCord, that’s exactly what happened — and Bingham earned its status as a perennial power once again.
The Miners jumped on the Northridge Knights early. They grabbed 21 offensive boards while winning the rebounding battle, 49-31. Makeui led with 13 caroms. McCord had seven, and most came under her own basket in the first quarter and in perfect position to score. She had six of her points when Bingham went on a 14-0 scoring run to grab a 17-6 lead.
The Miners led 30-12 at halftime, and were never threatened, to improve their record to 18-6.
“I knew this game would be physical,” said Northridge coach Chris Smith. “It was a lot like last year (a 69-48 Bingham win). They got on us early and were the aggressor.
“I tried to get them on our (non-region) schedule this year, but our dates never matched,” Smith added.
Bingham led by as many as 27 points and Mason helped her team build its experience as 12 players made the scoring column and 10 players earned at least 10 minutes on the court.
Northridge also gained valuable experience and Smith tried to build his team’s future by inserting multiple groups of players when it became likely the Knights weren’t going to win. Kendell Petersen topped the team in scoring with 10 points. After a third-place finish in Region 1 play and a first-round victory Tuesday, the loss didn’t dampen the Knights’ feelings too much after a 16-6 season.
“We may have lost today but we have a locker room full of winners,” Smith said.
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high school sports articles for the Deseret News.