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High school 5A girls tournament: Bingham starts and finishes strong to get by Northridge 69-48

SHARE High school 5A girls tournament: Bingham starts and finishes strong to get by Northridge 69-48

SALT LAKE CITY — Forgetting the timid nature and jitters associated with some top teams entering the first game of the state tournament, Bingham came out rolling on Monday en route to a convincing 69-48 first-round win over Northridge in the 5A state playoffs.

The Miners jumped out to a quick 14-10 lead after the first quarter and then really got rolling in the second, entering the half with a commanding 40-25 lead.

Turns out that big first half lead was necessary, as the Knights showed no quit throughout the second half — slowly whittling away at the lead until cutting it to 53-45 with just over three minutes remaining.

"We knew that they were a team that never gives up," said Bingham coach Charron Mason. "They just keep on fighting all the way through, so that's what we talked about at halftime … they were going to be ready, no matter what the score was."

Fortunately the Miners saved their best for last. After having their lead cut to single digits, Mason's team finished off the game with a resounding 16-3 run to win and advance to the quarterfinal round.

"By them putting that pressure on us — we just had to adjust to it and to be able to react to it," Mason said. "We did a lot better toward the end of the game with that."

Leading the way for Bingham was Sierra McNichol, who scored a game-high 21 points in an effort the Miners have grown accustomed to this season.

"That's pretty typical. She hustles. She's a hustle player," Mason said of McNichol's effort.

McNichol was key during Bingham's initial surge — putting an immediate stamp on the game while forcing the Knights to play from behind throughout.

"We've been preparing this whole season and practicing so hard for this (tournament,) McNichol said. "We were all just so excited to play that it definitely helped us get out to a good start."

Helping McNichol every step of the way were standout performances from Atalina Pritchard, 18 points, and Journey Tupea, with 10. Bingham did its best work driving hard to the hoop and making true on multiple second-chance opportunities. Altogether the Miners made 22 field goals, although none of them came from behind the arc.

As for how the team was able to close out, McNichol said, "There were some times when we'd get impatient in the game, but we found a way to pull out a win, which is always good in the state tournament."

Northridge was led Brooklyn Perkinds, Jessica Ellis and Lydia Mashburn, who scored 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

With the win, Bingham advances to the quarterfinal round where it will meet up with Viewmont on Wednesday.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney