WEST JORDAN — Bingham's 64-53 win over Copper Hills on Friday night encapsulated the team's non-region schedule according to Miners' coach Jake Schroeder. Sure, the Miners ultimately won but they provided enough angst for Schroeder to come away knowing his team still has work to do in order to defend its two consecutive state titles.
"The story of our season has been, let's say some interesting play during certain stages," Schroeder said. "We had some struggles tonight, but the positive is I think we're learning and games like this can be something that helps us in the long run."
The Miners led throughout and appeared poised to run away with things during a dominating third quarter, which saw them build a 50-36 lead heading into the final stretch. But four minutes into the fourth quarter saw the Miners provide no points in response to the Grizzlies' 10-0, which cut the lead to just 50-46 with 3:55 remaining.
Bingham didn't panic, however, and a 3-point play by Brayden Cosper got things going again, as the Miners put together an 11-3 run to build the lead back up to 61-49 with just under two minutes remaining.
Cosper starred for the Miners on the gridiron this season, along with Dax Milne and Ryan Wood, and all three contributed heavily to last year's championship and during Friday's win. Both Cosper and Milne scored nine points, with Wood adding eight.
"It takes a little bit for those guys to get fully back to playing basketball, but we're getting there with all of them," Schroeder said. "Those guys just make plays and know how to win. It's not always pretty, but all of those guys stepped up big late tonight and really helped us win this thing."
Bingham was led by Dalton Miller, who scored a game-high 21 points and played well throughout.
Copper Hills was led by Brian Holgate and Trevyn Allfrey, who scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
With the win, Bingham improved to 6-6 after slugging through a challenging early non-region slate, which included games against several top out-of-state programs. Things likely won't get any easier at the start of Region 4 play, which begins in two weeks with a game against perennial power Lone Peak.
"Region 4 is going to be a nightmare this year. It's always tough, but this year I think it's going to be tougher than normal," Schroeder said. "So we need to learn how to win tough games when we're not at our best. That was the case tonight, and while I'm happy with the win against a very good Copper Hills team, we need to get better. But I like the strides we've made and hopefully we'll be ready come region play.
Copper Hills drops to 6-6 with the loss and will next travel to take on Westlake.