South Jordan • An impressive victory over a quality opponent? Certainly. A statement game? Not necessarily, according to Bingham coach Rand Rasmussen.
While the Miners remained undefeated with a 43-38 region win over visiting American Fork on Thursday, Rasmussen and his players remained cautious about reading too much into the victory over their rivals.
"It feels good to beat a team like that," Bingham's Jilian Powell said. "The next time we play them we know they'll come out hard. There's going to be some good games [between the teams] down the road."
While that road might converge at the state tournament, one thing is certain Bingham (17-0, 6-0) remains the team to beat in Region 4. The Miners led 19-4 at halftime, holding the Cavemen (15-3, 5-1) to one first-half field goal. American Fork committed six fouls and 14 turnovers in the first half alone.
With leading scorer Cassidy Fraughton dealing with foul trouble most of the game, and Ashley Baugh still sidelined with a sprained left foot, the Cavemen appeared out of sorts. However, after trailing by as many as 15, American Fork came within five points three different times in the fourth quarter.
"That's about as good our defense has been in quite a while," Rasmussen said. "That's kind of shocking to me because they've got good offensive players. Our defensive pressure maybe gave them a little bit of a problem. I don't think they've faced that kind of intensity before. I'm sure we'll see them again somewhere."
The big lead especially helped Bingham down the stretch. The Miners held a nine-point lead with 2:50 remaining in the game before making only 2 of 8 free throws. Powell bailed the Miners out by converting all four of her attempts in the final 23 seconds, helping Bingham avoid potential disaster.
"I told the girls they had to answer in the second half, and had we made our free throws, we would have," Rasmussen said. "These are the kind of games that help you prepare for down the road. This isn't over. It's just one little game and one little step. I wouldn't say this was a statement game."
Bingham led 12-1 in the second quarter before Bryanna Adams made American Fork's first field goal of the game, ending a nine-minute stretch. The Cavemen managed only two other points, both free throws, in the first half.
While American Fork was mistake-prone, Bingham was a model of precision, committing only five turnovers the entire game, with none in the second half.
"We have a lot of good defensive players and defense leads to offense," said Powell, who matched teammate Mackenzie Bruggeman for high-point honors with 13 points. Madison Aulai-Roe added eight points for Bingham.
Amy Bergeson led American Fork with 10 points, while Fraughton, held scoreless in the first half, finished with eight points and seven rebounds.