Bingham boys basketball tough preseason slate translating to wins in league playFeb 09, 2024 03:16PM ● By Brian Shaw
For the Bingham Miners boys basketball team, this season was a road laid out by head coach Kyle Straatman in painstaking detail long before the season started.
“We have a very inexperienced team that is going to play one of the tougher in-state schedules in the state,” Straatman said one week before his Miners team would be heading to sunny Southern California for a tournament over the holidays.
But something happened right before the Miners hopped on a plane. They took 5A power Olympus to the absolute brink before losing, 87-83, on Dec. 19 in double overtime.
Once at the Desert Holiday Classic, Bingham thumped a team from Washington 81-39, destroyed a highly regarded team from Northern California by 11 and wrapped up the tournament by defeating a team from Simi Valley by 10 points. The only game the Miners lost during the 3-day tournament was another dogfight with one of the top teams in Arizona [Liberty], a 63-62 loss.
Back on home soil, the Miners took 6A quarterfinalist Davis to the depths at Davis for three quarters before succumbing, 67-58, on Jan. 3. Bingham then knocked off American Fork, the 6A runner-up, 73-67, Jan. 5 at American Fork.
So when Straatman said Bingham had one of the tougher in-state slates, he wasn’t kidding.
“We return 2 starters in Stockton Tueller (senior) and Luke West (sophomore) who are going to be a big part of what we do on both ends of the court,” Straatman said. He says West is a great player and a very unselfish scorer.
“He [West] has the ability to score on all 3 levels at the varsity level,” said the fifth year coach. “He is also shooting above 50% from the 3-point line through our first six games.”
In California, West’s worst game was a 16-point night against highly touted Liberty, who employed all kinds of tricks to keep Bingham’s leading scorer [20.6 points per game] in check.
But West is only one half of the Miner equation, Straatman said.
“Stockton [Tueller] is one of the best passing and rebounding point guards in the state,” he said. “He had a game already this season with 13 assists and 0 turnovers [Dec. 1 vs Pleasant Grove].”
That said, there’s something else that makes this relative of basketball royalty tick, according to Straatman.
“Stockton is also one of the most competitive kids in the state,” Straatman said of the blood relation to Utah basketball coaching legend Rod Tueller, averaging 13.8 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. [If you know anything about Rod Tueller, you already know he had a fire burning within him as he paced.]
For the Miners, two newcomers to Bingham’s varsity are already making their marks on the team. Tate Boman comes over from league co-leader Corner Canyon and is already contributing in different ways [4 ppg, 2 apg, 2 rpg].
Another big spark off the bench comes from Tyson Shewell, who is Bingham’s second leading rebounder and fourth leading scorer, averaging just over four boards and 6.8 points per game.
“We have a lot of other guys who are ready to step into big roles with the varsity team after seeing a lot of success on the JV level last year … Jason Peterson, Rhett Dawson, Rykan Meadows, Luke Cantwell are all guys who can score in a variety of ways both inside and out,” said Bingham’s coach who now has a 75-37 record at the school.
“All of these guys can shoot the ball and bring different things to the table. Luke Cantwell is also a great leader, and all of our players look up to and listen to him all the time.”
For Cantwell, the senior is one of Bingham’s key cogs, averaging about eight points per contest—with a season-high of 13. Meadows is Bingham’s big man in more ways than one; the 6-foot-8 senior was critical in the Miners’ double-OT loss to Olympus, scoring 17 points, and is the Miners’ third leading scorer on the season.
“We will play a very up-tempo game [with guards Boman and Gabe Sivulich] and will give our players a lot of freedom on the offensive end. We pride ourselves on playing a tough brand of basketball and being physical on the defensive side of the ball,” Straatman said of his squad that now sits at 9-6 overall with a 2-0 record in Region 2 action.
“A lot of our current players are overlooked as far as individual rankings and recognition at the state level but are very high-level players,” he said. “We are going to be involved in a very competitive 6A state tournament. There are a few teams slightly ahead of everyone else but there are a legitimate 10-12 teams out of 18 in 6A who can win a state championship.” λ