SALT LAKE CITY — Poise and experience count for a lot in any tournament, and fortunately for Bingham, it had just that to close out hard-charging Westlake 39-37.
The Miners know how to deal with late-game presser, off their run to the state championship a year ago, and found themselves needing to dig deep to fend off the Thunder and advance to the semifinal round.
“They hit some tough shots and it was a tough game,” said Bingham coach Charron Mason. “And it’s exactly what you’d want coming here to the (Huntsman Center) in a competitive environment.”
Up throughout the game, the Miners saw their lead trimmed to just one point at the start of the fourth quarter, 29-28, and had to fight to maintain the lead until the end.
But enter experienced players like guard Ameleya Angilau and Madison Jones, among. others, to hold the Thunder off. Jones in particular showed well, logging a big block late and some key free throws en route to scoring her game-high 11 points.
“She started all of it in the first quarter,” Mason said. “She was rebounding, hustling on defense, and I think all of that carried into the rest of her game.”
But despite all the stellar ball-control and made free throws toward the end, Westlake still had a chance to tie it at the end off a steal of a late inbounds pass. But with just 1.6 seconds remaining, the Thunder failed to inbound the ball effectively, as Bingham came away with a tough win that Mason feels will prove a benefit when taking on Copper Hills in the semifinals.
“That’s the whole point of the tournament, right? Just win and advance,” Mason said.