SOUTH JORDAN — Usually when a prep basketball player compares a December nonregion game to a state championship contest, you scratch your head.
But when Bingham junior guard Shad Sommerville made that comparison following his team's 44-37 win over Jordan Friday evening, he certainly had a point.
Bingham, in its 100th year of existence, hosted Jordan, in its 101st year of existence, for a "Centennial Game" as part of the Miners' year-long celebration of its centennial. Accordingly, tipoff was delayed for an hour so that many of the legends of Bingham's basketball program could be introduced, and the contest was again delayed at halftime so the Miners could honor three of Bingham's basketball coaches before a packed arena.
"It was just kind of a weird environment," said Sommerville, who scored a pair of huge fourth-quarter baskets to help Bingham hang on against the resilient 'Diggers. "It was almost like a state championship game because everything's so weird ... We're having to wait at the beginning ... and then we're gonna have to wait at halftime."
All things considered, both teams handled the delays OK, but in the end, it was the 4-0 Miners who did enough to post a win over previously unbeaten Jordan.
Bingham led 28-22 after the third quarter, and while the Beetdiggers pulled within a couple of points in the fourth on two occasions, the Miners responded both times to seal the win.
"We're a young team," said Bingham coach Mark Dubach. "I start three juniors (and) two seniors, and we're gonna have games where people push us and make runs at us, and we're just gonna have to finish. Tonight we were able to do that, so I'm proud of the kids.
"It was a grind-it-out basketball game."
Bingham star junior Ben Clifford led all scorers with 12 points but was saddled with foul trouble for much of the second half and eventually fouled out. However, between Sommerville, fellow junior guard Michael Arnell, Remington Peck and others, a number of players stepped up.
"We're not riding on Clifford's shoulders," said Dubach. "We're playing team ball."
And that enabled Bingham to post a win on a historic evening that, among other things, featured the return of legendary coach George Sluga to Bingham High for one of the first times since he was controversially fired in 2000.
"It was unbelievable to have coach Sluga back," said Dubach.