Bingham43, Brighton 34

TAYLORSVILLE — Rand Rasmussen has less than two days to solve a problem that no other Utah girls basketball coach has been able to solve this season: how to beat the Mountain View Bruins.

"I'm elated to play Mountain View," he said after his team earned the right to go to the 5A semifinals in the state tournament. "I don't think there's any pressure on Bingham."

The Miners will meet Mountain View Friday afternoon in the first game of the semifinal round after defeating scrappy Brighton High. Bingham came from behind to end the Bengals' Cinderella season with a 43-34 win on Wednesday night at Salt Lake Valley Community College.

"It would be nice to press them," Rasmussen said of his options against the Bruins, "but we can't; we're too slow . . . We could hold the ball . . . I was thinking maybe of talking to Narbon (High School from California — the only team to beat Mountain View this year), and seeing if maybe I could fly five of their kids in to play."

Then he smiled and ran his fingers through his hair.

"I don't know what to do with Mountain View," he said. "But I have 48 hours to think about it."

Some good news for Bingham is that starting forward Erin Page will be able to play against the Bruins. She was kicked out of a first-round game for pushing a player who pushed her in the game against Orem. According to the rules, the ejection meant she must miss the following game.

So as her team struggled against the upstart Bengals, she watched from the bench in street clothes.

"It was horrible," Page said. "I've never felt so sick (when they trailed). I know what coaches go through now."

Her replacement — Shanna Wylie — was the difference on the boards for Bingham in the second half. She'd only started one other game for the Miners.

"I was really excited to play," she said. "I thought I just have to play my hardest . . . They played pretty good defense, but nobody on our team wanted to lose."

Rasmussen said the junior "did just fine. What we talked about before the whole day started is that we've never been based on one player. We're more a sum of the whole."

He did think the team wanted to make sure Page got to play at least one more game in her senior season.

"I think that was motivation," he said. "She told them win or die."

Brighton made Bingham earn its trip to the semifinals by leading by six points at halftime.

The Bengals came into the tournament with a 10-10 record and the knowledge that they'd upset the fifth-ranked team just a few weeks earlier in region play. With just one senior, the energetic and seemingly unflappable Bengals came out on fire Wednesday night.

They held Bingham to just one point in the second quarter, while they shot 42.9 percent from the field, and an amazing 66.7 percent from behind the 3-point line.

The second half, however, was a different story. Bingham found itself defensively and, in turn, held Brighton to just four points in each of the subsequent quarters. The Miners went on to shoot 35 percent — much better than their first half's 25 percent. They were led offensively by Emily Johnson, who gave them the lead from the free-throw line and finished with 11 points.

Brighton's accuracy slipped to 16 percent, and they couldn't get an offensive rebound. Their high scorer was Janell Casey who had 10 points.

"They shut us down defensively in the second half," said Brighton coach Jim Gresh. "They just played tough man to man, and they blocked us off the boards. We only got one shot."

Still, he beamed at his team's season that exceeded the expectations of so many.

"It was a fantastic year," he said. "Beating Layton — we're really happy. Today hurts a little bit, but we'll be back."

In other 5A tournament games:

CLEARFIELD 36, TAYLORSVILLE 24: Clearfield ended the Taylorsville Warriors' state tournament run in a defensive battle.

Jennie Overdiek was, as she usually is, the offensive leader for Clearfield scoring 11 points. She also had six rebounds and three assists.

Almost all of the Warriors points were scored by center Emily Garn, who had 16. She also grabbed seven rebounds, two steals and a block.

KEARNS 51, ALTA 42: The defending 5A state champions played tough defense down the stretch to secure a spot in the tournament's semifinals on Friday in their nine-point win over Alta.

Kearns was led offensively by center Heather Little, who had 18 points, and Kellie Parker, who had 16 points.

Jill Cameron led the Hawks with 10 points.

MOUNTAIN VIEW 57, SKYLINE 23: Danielle Cheesman scored 17 points in 21 minutes as the Bruins demonstrated why they are No. 1 by trouncing Skyline.

Brittany Tressler led the Bruins in rebounding with 10 boards, while Jenny Jensen had nine points and four rebounds for the Eagles.


E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com