Brighton girls win regular season finale, qualify for state basketball tournament
The Lady Bengals qualified for state on the last day of the season. (John Guertler/City Journals)
The Brighton girls basketball team sure knows how to cut things close. The Bengals waited until the final game of the season to qualify for the Class 5A state tournament.
Better late than never.
Entering the final game on the Region 7 schedule Feb. 13, Brighton and Jordan were tied for fourth place, each sporting league marks of 3-6. Only the top four teams from the six-team Region 7 get a postseason berth, so it was winner-take-all when the two teams hooked up.
The Bengals won in resounding fashion 44-25 to grab the final playoff spot. The game started out tight, however, as Jordan led 15-14 at halftime in a low-scoring affair. The Bengals made some adjustments and turned up the defense even more in the third and fourth quarters. In the game’s final 12 minutes, Brighton outscored Jordan 30-10, including 15-4 in the fourth quarter.
Brighton held the Beetdiggers to just nine made field goals all game long. Meanwhile, the duo of Sidney Kaufmann and Anabelle Warner scored 13 points apiece, outscoring Jordan themselves. Naomi Kehl and Aly Vyfinkel chipped in eight points and six points, respectively.
For their efforts, the Bengals advanced to state where they fell to Region 6 winner, East, 49-37 at Salt Lake Community College on Feb. 19.
The victory over Jordan wouldn’t have meant nearly as much had the Bengals not taken care of business a week earlier against Cottonwood. Needing a victory to stay in the playoff hunt, Brighton was dominant on the defensive end, shutting out the Colts in the first quarter while building an 11-point lead. Brighton went on to win handily, 48-29, as Vyfinkel paced the team with 12 points. Kehl and Emily Moss each chipped in 10 points in the victory.
Defense has been the name of the game for Brighton much of the season. The Bengals held their opponents to 50 points or less in six region games. The defense suffocated foes to less than 30 points on three occasions in region play.
Offensively, two Brighton players averaged double figures in scoring during the regular season. Moss leads the way with 11.2 points an outing, while Kaufmann contributes 10.6 points per contest. Kehl, Vyfinkel and Warner each score more than 4.5 points per game.
Brighton also qualified for the state tournament a year ago but fell in the first round to Sky View 55-30. The Bengals last won in the postseason in 2016 when it advanced to the quarterfinals with a 57-25 trouncing of West.