The UHSAA’s recent decision to allow a limited number of student fans into home games has certainly brought increased intensity to the gyms each night, which can pay off for home and visiting teams.
Visiting Bingham fed off the energy and heckling from Copper Hills’ social-distanced student section along the baseline, early intensity that helped it play the type of lockdown defense necessary against Copper Hills on its way to the 59-39 win.
“I think our guys were excited for that, and I think honestly we fed off that a little bit. That helped us with our energy early, even though it was their crowd, just having a crowd there helped us with our energy.” — Bingham coach Kyle Straatman.
“I think our guys were excited for that, and I think honestly we fed off that a little bit. That helped us with our energy early, even though it was their crowd, just having a crowd there helped us with our energy,” said Bingham coach Kyle Straatman.
Only a limited number of family members have been allowed to attend games until last week, and Straatman said his team has certainly missed playing in front of their peers.
Bingham and Copper Hills both came into the game with 4-0 records in Region 3, but the Miners now have the inside track on the region title midway through league play. A year ago, the teams shared the region title with 8-2 records.
Defense was the catalyst for Bingham as it held Copper Hills to a season-low 39 points on just 33% shooting.
“Our guys were locked in right off the bat with just a little bit of a scheme we were doing, which wasn’t anything fancy, but we were just switching everything and our bigs did a great job of moving their feet and not fouling,” said Straatman.
Copper Hills rarely got a clean look at the basket, as every shot whether at the rim or along the 3-point line was hotly contested.
“A good team like that if you let them have a little window right off the bat then you’re in for a long night. If we would’ve made a few mistakes defensively right off the bat their shooters would’ve got hot and we would’ve been in for a really long night,” said Straatman.
Copper Hills only made 4 of 19 shots in the first half as Bingham jumped out to a 29-16 halftime lead. The lead swelled to 46-23 by the third quarter as Copper Hills only made three buckets in the third.
Copper Hills caught fire early in the fourth quarter scoring on five of its first six possession, including four 3-pointers, but by then the outcome was never in doubt as the lead never dipped by 16 points.
Straatman admits his team wasn’t that great offensively, particularly early in the game, but the defense forced numerous early turnovers that led to easy transition buckets to seize the early lead.
Jordan Toscano and Kam Dupaix scored 10 each to lead Bingham, with Copper Hills’ McCoy Langston leading all scorers with 16 points.
Bingham now sits at 10-5 on the season after its five-game region winning streak. With a 15.8 point average margin of victory in those five wins, Straatman likes the way his team is trending with the regular season winding down.
“I think we’ve been getting better every day which is the real goal here, and I know a lot of coaches say that, but I think we’ve slowly progressed every single day. Some of our younger, more inexperienced guys are gaining some experience which always helps,” said Straatman.