By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Kevin McInnis
WEST JORDAN – Sometimes the grind of winning a game takes away some of the joy of the journey, even in victory. Such seemed to be the case Wednesday night when the Bingham High boys basketball survived the deliberate pace at which West Jordan wanted to play for a 34-25 win.
Even in victory, things got a little tense around the Bingham bench in the closing seconds, perhaps fueled in part by the pace at which the game had been played. It was a grind from the outset, as the Jaguars slowed the pace of the game to a crawl and drastically limited the number of offensive opportunities available to either squad.
When the scoring chances, few and far between as they were, came, neither team was able to deliver much for most of the night, and that made for an extremely low-scoring game. West Jordan passed the ball mostly around the perimeter for a full minute, 90 seconds or even two minutes before looking much in the direction of the basket, and five minutes in, the Jaguars led just 2-0.
In addition to the deliberate nature of its offense, West Jordan also kept the score down by packing in tight a 3-2 zone defense that made life miserable for Bingham’s talented big man, Yoeli Childs, who didn’t get his first field goal until there were under five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Miners instead moved Childs out to the top of the circle where even his three-point attempts were hotly contested. When he was down low, the Jaguars surrounded him and made him work extremely hard to get a look. West Jordan’s strategy also frustrated the efforts of junior forward Samuta Avea, whose high-flying act never got off the ground in this one.
With three minutes left in the opening stanza, Bingham went into full-court pressure mode and for a few brief moments, it worked to speed up the game. By the end of the first period, the contest was deadlocked at 9-9. But that was the end of any kind of pace.
For the most part, there was no flow of any kind all night long, at least until the fourth quarter when the Miners put a couple of big shots together to open up a little bit of a lead. Even then, the Jaguars seemed unwilling or unable to get into their offense much more quickly.
The score at halftime was a 14-12 West Jordan lead, and the teams combined for seven points in the third, when Bingham finally took the lead at 17-16. The fourth quarter started much the same way, with neither team finding the net in the first two minutes, but then 6-foot-2 Miner guard Dason Youngblood dropped back-to-back 3-pointers to help Bingham open up an insurmountable (at this pace) seven-point advantage.
Childs followed those long balls with a baseline jump hook for his only conversion from the floor of the night, and the Miners led 25-17. Senior guard Schyler Shoemaker put together a nice stretch of offense the rest of the way, scoring Bingham’s final nine points, three field goals and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe, as the Miners claimed the nine-point margin of victory.
No West Jordan players even approached double figures, with Jacob Lowery tallying six points to lead the way for the Jags. Jordan Lowery and Davis Misrasi each scored five, while Bryan Banks led the team with six rebounds.
Shoemaker led the way for Bingham with 11 points, as Youngblood added 10. Childs finished the night with just four points, but did contribute eight rebounds, a pair of blocked shots and two steals.
Next up for West Jordan (1-2 in Region 3, 10-4 overall) is a road game at Taylorsville (0-3, 3-11) Friday night, while Bingham (4-0, 10-2) hosts Cottonwood (0-3, 3-8).