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Challenging preseason schedule awaits Brighton girls basketball

Dec 02, 2017 08:20AM ● Published by City Journals Staff

Chloe North dashes past her teammates during practice. (John Guertler/City Journals)

Gallery: Brighton Girls BBall [7 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Josh McFadden | josh@mycityjournals.com    

When putting together a prep basketball schedule, there are a few schools of thought. Coaches can line up some less-talented, less-experienced foes and look to build confidence through likely wins, or coaches can challenge their teams with formidable opponents, designed to prepare their squads for region play.

Brighton girls basketball coach Jim Gresh opted for the latter approach this season.

The Bengals open their season Nov. 21 at Riverton, a 6A team that regularly makes the state tournament. In December, the Bengals meet up with state power Layton. The team’s final non-region test comes Jan. 5 at home against defending 4A state champion Skyline.

“Non-region play is very valuable,” Gresh said. “We play a tough schedule. We need those tough games to be strong for region.”

The Bengals start off region action by hosting Alta and Corner Canyon Jan. 9 and Jan. 11, respectively. The Hawks won Region 7 a year ago with a 13-1 record and a 21-2 mark overall.

Brighton competed in Region 3 of Class 5A last season, where it went 6-6 and finished in fourth place. The Bengals went 6-15 overall, losing all of its non-region games and falling in the first round of the state tournament to Sky View. With the new region realignments, thanks to the addition of Class 6A, Brighton stays in 5A but moves to Region 7. This season, the Bengals will compete with league opponents Alta, Corner Canyon, Cottonwood, Jordan and Timpview.

While many coaches may compile a list of concrete goals and expectations, Gresh likes to keep things simple. 

“Throughout  my career, I haven’t focused on expectations,” he said. “I want us to play and practice the best we can and see what happens. We set goals to play and prepare the best we can.”

The Bengals began practicing in early November. Though there are still some unknowns with the squad, Gresh pointed out intelligence as a team strength.

“I’ve got a smart team,” he said. “They’re smart in the classroom. I’m going to try to give them more stuff — give them more plays — than I normally would. They pick up on things faster.”

Gresh said he has “a bunch coming back” from last year’s team. Guards Aly Vyfinkel and Emily Moss, along with small forward Sidney Kaufman, are Brighton’s top returners. Vyfinkel scored 69 points last season but came on stronger late in the year when she had a pair of 10-point games in February. Kaufman is the leading returning scorer; she contributed 7.7 points an outing last season. 

Gresh will also look to Annabelle Warner, Nicky Vyfinkel and Courtney Ebeling to produce on both ends of the court.

“We’ve got a lot of leaders that work with each other,” Gresh said. “I’m hoping others plod each other along.”

In all, the Bengals have 10 non-region games to get themselves prepared for region play. Once there, Brighton will work to make its way into the top four of league standings; doing this will give the team a berth in the state tournament. 

“The girls are anxious to get going,” Gresh said. “They work hard, and they have a good attitude. I don’t have any problems with this team.”

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