Miners emerge from difficult schedule in good position for state tournament
Feb 13, 2020 03:30PM
By Josh McFadden
Jordan Toscano is averaging double digits for the Miners this season. (Photo by Pat McDonald)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
At the beginning of the school year, the Utah High School Activities Association instituted a Ratings Percentage Index to determine state tournament seeding. Strength of schedule factors into the rankings.
The Bingham boys basketball team took that component to heart.
The Miners have faced several talented foes this season, leading to some ups and downs. Going into their Jan. 24 game at Riverton, Bingham was 8-8 overall and 1-2 in Region 3. At press time, the Miners were 14th in the RPI rankings.
Three of Bingham’s losses came at the prestigious Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 18–21. The Miners opened the tournament with an impressive 62-48 win over George Washington, Colorado. Kam Dupaix led the team with 16 points and seven rebounds. With that victory, the Miners improved to 6-1. The team then dropped the next three contests to a squad from Florida and two from California.
A 2-4 stretch followed the tournament in Vegas, though both region games were competitive.
The Miners opened Region 3 on Jan. 10 with a 59-52 loss to Copper Hills, a game where Bingham made a valiant second-half rally after trailing 32-19 at halftime. The Miners got it down to 42-39 heading into the fourth quarter but couldn’t steal the victory. Shooting 21 of 59 didn’t help Bingham’s cause, but Tyler West put up some nice numbers. The 6-7 senior had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Ethan Langston added 11 points, which was right on his team-leading season average.
Bingham got back on track with a 65-60 win over Herriman on Jan. 14, aided largely by a huge first quarter. During the opening six minutes, the Miners outscored the Mustangs 26-9, a margin that proved to be enough—but not by much—the rest of the way. Jordan Toscano was the offensive star of this victory, putting up 22 points in the game.
Bingham came up short on Jan. 17 in a 64-57 loss to Jordan to drop to 1-2 in league play. Four Miners reached double figures.
The Miners have relied on balanced contributions this season. Langston, Toscano and junior Justis Reiser each average around 11 points a contest. West isn’t far behind at 9.8 points a game.
Bingham’s 8-8 start may be better than the record would indicate. Along with its two region losses and setbacks in Las Vegas, the team also fell to Region 1 foes Davis and Fremont. Those two squads sit atop their region and boast a combined record of 27-2. Bingham also lost to a solid 10-5 Westlake team.
In the new RPI format, all teams qualify for the state tournament, with the top seven getting first-round byes. With one remaining regular season game on Feb. 14 at home against Riverton, the Miners are tied with Copper Hills for the best record in their region.