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High school girls basketball: Despite sluggish start, defending 6A champ Bingham crashed glass to rally past Ridgeline for preseason win

SHARE High school girls basketball: Despite sluggish start, defending 6A champ Bingham crashed glass to rally past Ridgeline for preseason win

Bingham’s Sierra Lichtie gets ready to shoot during a girls basketball game against Ridgeline at Bingham High School in South Jordan on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Bingham won 37-32

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

In winning back-to-back 6A state titles the past two years, Bingham’s coaches and players believe they’ve built a culture of intensity that’s tough for opponents to match.

That intensity was there in Thursday night’s season-opening win over American Fork, but a night later against Ridgeline it was lacking on both sides of the court early on.

“With the culture we’ve built here over the past few years, we kind of pride ourselves coming out with good defensive intensity and we just didn’t see that,” said Bingham head coach Skyler Beard.

His team made just one basket in the first quarter as the Miners found themselves in a pretty big hole down 11 points.

Over the next three quarters though, Bingham ratcheted up the intensity defensively and on the offensive glass as it outscored Ridgeline each of the next three quarters to rally for the 37-32 win to improve to 2-0.

Sierra Lichtie led the way for Bingham with 13 points, and her leadership will be something Bingham leans on all season as she was a major contributor to last year’s state title.

“She’s kind of our vocal leader, and she holds girls accountable. She knows how special it is to go win a state championship and having been a part of those two runs, I think she’s just as hungry as all of them,” said Beard.

Trailing 14-3 after the first quarter, crashing the offensive glass quickly helped Bingham climb back into the game. It corralled six of its 18 offensive rebounds in the second quarter, turning two of those second-chance opportunities into 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 20-16 by halftime.

All those rebounds allowed Bingham to scrap for buckets on a night when the shooting touch simply wasn’t there.

Beard said it was no coincidence his team rebounded well on Friday as it’s been one of the focuses in the limited practices so far this young season.

“I have some great freshman that go in there and set the tone, Shawnessy Nordstrom and Vani Key. Vani can leap out of a gym, and our girls followed suit, and I was super proud of them as it led to second-chance opportunities,” said Beard.

Bingham took the lead for good 22-20 early in the third quarter on Lichtie jumper and then stretched it to as many as seven in the fourth quarter of the sluggish game offensively for both teams.

Bingham’s pressure defense played a big role in Ridgeline’s offensive struggles as it forced 19 turnovers.

Sarah Litchford led Ridgeline in the loss with 11 points.