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South Jordan Journal

Bingham boys basketball had a respectable run at state after having dug out from an early season hole

Apr 05, 2023 02:57PM ● By Brian Shaw

As Region 3 play ground to a halt and the complex machinery that is the 6A state basketball tournament turned into gear, the Miners were proving that old adage, that hard work did in fact pay off in the long run. 

“Yes, we are having a great season for what we have,” said Bingham boys basketball head coach Kyle Straatman.  “The boys are a very fun team to watch play because they play together and really move the ball on offense and then have a ton of energy and are very scrappy on defense.”

That defense led to a 59-39 win in The Pit over No. 18 Skyridge in the first round of the 6A state tournament, Feb. 23. 

“We also have our Freshman Luke West who is starting to take over games offensively and then Senior Brayden Whitehead is leading the state in blocks per game,” said the head coach, who is now 66-31 all-time at Bingham. 

True to what the coach said, Whitehead was a force inside against No. 18 seed Skyridge, providing that stick of dynamite type of presence in the painted area. The senior had 10 points to go with 12 rebounds for Bingham [12-13]. 

The freshmen West was also big for the Miners, scoring 18 points while knocking down three triples. Senior Carson Bagley also had 14 points and 11 rebounds for a 15-seeded Bingham team that would now travel to Magna to play Cyprus the next day—as luck would have it. 

The Miners acted like Cyprus’ gym packed to the rafters was their gym in the first half. Hamfisted, the Miners wouldn’t give heavily favored 2-seed Cyprus any room to breathe in the first quarter and played to a 12-12 stalemate. 

In the second quarter, the battle between two mining towns was still anyone’s game. With the famed smokestack not far from the C on the hill that was not yet lit, the Miners refused to give Cyprus’—and the state’s—leading scorer Quentin Meza much room to move. 

Bingham merely trailed by one point going into the half, 24-23. But in the third quarter, Cyprus found some room and started knocking down shots from outside—which led to Meza cinching up his stroke.

The Miners were now trailing by 12 points after going ice-cold from behind the three-point arc after three quarters of play inside of an old, musty gym in the mining town of Magna. 

You wonder if the two schools played every year if this is how the game would turn out. With a trip to the Dee Events Center in Ogden on the line the Miners gave it everything they had in the fourth and final quarter, because that’s the type of team Bingham had. 

It wasn’t enough in a 68-60 loss at Cyprus, however, as freshman Luke West showed why he may someday be mentioned alongside Meza as one of the state’s all-time greats. 

West had 20 points for a Bingham team that never quit on Feb. 24—not even a day after the Miners had had to play their first-round state playoff game in this battle of mining towns. 

Senior KJ Jenson did all that he could as well, firing down three triples in this round of 16 game en route to 17 points in his last game. 

These were shots that this unsung team who won their last three region games in convincing ways had been practicing at 6 a.m. before the daybreak burst over the Oquirrh Mountains, every morning before and during the season. 

These were days that seniors like Whitehead and Jenson and Bagley and two of the bench glue guys like Caden Wood and Gage Vance knew they would never again see.

So like their predecessors must have done they just got to the work, took these younger guys like Luke West and Jason Peterson and junior Stockton Tueller along and showed them the way. 

Wouldn’t you know it, they almost made it to Ogden. 

So for this group of unsung kids who in all ways showed the heart and grit and character befitting a champion, who made their coach Kyle Straatman burst with pride when talking about them all, know this: you watched all of your predecessors in this town of South Jordan burst with that same pride and spirit, right over those Oquirrh Mountains.