SARATOGA SPRINGS — When it comes to Bingham Miners girls basketball, team is everything.
At least that is what head coach Charron Mason and her staff have tried to instill in their players throughout this season.
“This team is all about the Bingham Miners. That is what we try to emphasize,” Mason said.
On offense, that means the Miners have no go-to scorer, at least not purposely — senior guard Maggie McCord averages 17.4 points per game to lead the team.
“We look for anyone and everyone and we are not about one person,” Mason said. “The greatest part for me is Maggie is one of the best players with that. She doesn’t care who scores, she just wants the Bingham Miners to score.”
On defense, the Miners are no different.
Team is everything.
“We talk a lot about playing team defense,” Mason said. “It is not just your person and your area and that is something we have really emphasized. It has to be all of us together.”
Bingham’s "team is everything" mantra was put to the test Thursday night at Westlake High School.
The Miners battled the Thunder for preeminent position in Region 4. The winner would have the inside track to the region title, while the loser would be left to battle with Lone Peak for seeding in the upcoming playoffs.
After 32 hard-fought minutes, Bingham proved the better team and defeated Westlake 50-44.
“We knew they were a good team and we knew tonight would be a challenge,” Mason said. “Our whole region is such a challenge, so we knew they’d be ready and that we’d need to be.”
McCord and Jaycee Lichtie each had 15 points to lead Bingham (13-6, 6-0), while Kasia Higgins added eight points. Seven Miners ultimately found their way into the scoring column, aided in one way or another by a teammate.
And while that balanced scoring night was indicative of the Miners’ commitment to team, it was on the defensive end where Bingham’s mantra truly shined.
Beginning in the third quarter, and culminating in the final offensive possession of the night for the Thunder, the Miners played nearly flawlessly as a defensive unit.
After allowing Westlake (14-4, 3-2) to erupt for 28 first-half points, including an 18-point second quarter, Bingham held the Thunder to just 16 second-half points, including a measly seven in the third.
Shots that the Thunder found in abundance in the first half, namely shots in the paint for Rian Fullmer (11 points) and wide open 3-pointers by Marissa Scoresby (13) and Samantha Hester (10), all but disappeared.
“We talked a lot about playing team defense, we really emphasized that at halftime,” said Mason. “It had to be all of us together and I felt they took a step in that direction. They did that a lot better in the second half.”
Nowhere was the commitment to team defense more evident than on the final possession of the game.
The Thunder, trailing by six, took possession of the ball with just over 40 seconds remaining, after rallying from a 10-point deficit thanks to quick buckets by Scoresby and Fullmer.Comment on this story
Considering the time and score, Westlake had every intention of cutting the Bingham lead in half via a 3-pointer, but simply could not do it.
Every pass, every cut and every screen in the final 40 seconds proved pointless, as the Miners refused to give up a shot.
When the possession finally ended, on a desperate 3-point heave by Ashley Parry, the game was over, won by the Miners’ defense.
“That was super encouraging to see,” Mason said. “I think it shows that if we work hard good things will happen. They stayed together and there is power in that.”