The Brighton High girls basketball team returned key players from a 5A state semifinal appearance last season – a 59-52 loss to eventual state champion Fremont – and currently sits as one of the top teams in Region 3.
“I knew we had an experienced group of girls coming back,” said Brighton head coach Jim Gresh, who is in his 16th year. “We’re a good team, and we have a chance to do great things.”
The Bengals began the year with a 7-2 record which included double-digit margins of victory in all seven wins over Fremont (71-55) Dec. 2, Springville (55-27) Dec. 3, Layton (48-33) Dec. 9, Lehi (76-53) Dec. 12, Lone Peak (58-47) Dec. 18, Granger (62-44) Dec. 19 and Hillcrest (65-27) Jan. 6. Their only preseason losses were to Juan Diego (63-59) Nov. 25 and Skyline (44-41) Dec. 10.
In region play, Brighton has defeated West Jordan (72-32) Jan. 6, Jordan (73-30) Jan. 13, Alta (61-60) Jan. 15, Bingham (62-35) Jan. 20 and West Jordan (74-33) Jan. 22, while losing to Copper Hills (63-60) Jan. 8 and Jan. 29 (56-54), for a 5-2 record and third place in the region standings.
Sophomore Dani Barton leads Brighton in scoring with 16 points a game, while senior Lindsey Johnson averages more than 11 points, including 18 three-pointers on the year.
Senior Alyssa Hirschi (6 points), sophomore Brooke Ingles (6 points), senior McCall Christensen (5 points), senior Sammie Smith (3 points) and junior Jade Summerhays (3 points) round out much of the other scoring for the Bengals.
“When we’ve played well, we’ve been really balanced in our scoring,” Gresh said.
The team faces Jordan, Alta and Bingham to finish out the second half of region play before the 5A state tournament which is scheduled for Feb. 16-21 at Salt Lake Community College.
Also on Brighton’s squad are junior Asia Kehl; sophomores Sierra Neves, Ari Miller and Megan Lindquist; and freshmen Savannah Neves, Kambrie Douglas and Sidney Kaufmann.
“Our approach is staying in the present and working on skills game by game,” Gresh said. “Every time I look ahead, something different happens. But I believe we’ll be right there at the end.”