By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Kevin McInnis
Editor’s Note – The TOSH Top 25 is our countdown of the top 25 stories from the 2016-2017 school sports year, beginning with No. 25 and counting down, one story a day, to No. 1. The 2016-2017 high school sports year was filled with big performances, both team and individual. The act of narrowing down our initial list of top stories for our TOSH Top 25 stories of the year to just 25 was a difficult task. We asked people all over the state for input into our final list and beginning July 5, we are counting them down in reverse, from story No. 25 to story No. 1. Hopefully your favorite story of the past school year made our list.
Today, we’re up to No. 21 where Bingham High’s boys basketball team made it two 5A state championships in a row.
#21 – Bingham basketball goes back-to-back
It’s hard to win a 5A state basketball championship once, but once the target is on a team’s back as a defending champion, the second title run can be even more daunting. For the Bingham High boys hoops team, the 2016-2017 season was all about showing that winning is all about team.
The 2015-2016 title team was more than it appeared. Dominant big man Yoeli Childs and dynamic wing Samuta Avea got most of the headlines, but those two weren’t around for this one. Childs graduated and moved on to play a major role as a freshman at Brigham Young University, and Avea moved back to Hawaii, leaving a hole for the Miners and coach Jake Schroeder to fill.
The good news is that Bingham was never built around one or two players. It’s a group that defends and puts a huge premium on team play, and those things came through in a big way during the 2017 championship run.
At 6-foot-11, senior center Branden Carlson captured a lot of attention this year, and his presence was a constant for the Miners. A pair of senior guards – Lleyton Parker and Dason Youngblood – however, provided the same level of consistency they brought to the floor a year earlier, and that made the Miners the best team in the state once again.
A loss in its Region 3 opener at Copper Hills was the one in-state defeat for Bingham, which finished the season 24-3 overall and the new edition of this squad pretty much duplicated the results of its immediate predecessor.
During the state tournament, Carlson, Parker and Youngblood each had major moments, but Bingham’s success came from the same source it had the previous season. This is a deep program that gets contributions from all comers.
In this case, Tanner Davis stepped up with huge games in both the state quarterfinal and semifinal contests, and Preston Fowlkes was another major contributor in the semifinal win. All of that set up a state championship battle against a program that needs no introduction when it comes to title game participation – Lone Peak.
The championship game did not go smoothly in terms of scoring for either team, but a 12-0 run late in the game and a high-scoring fourth quarter allowed the Miners to seize control and win their 10th state title. Until that final stanza, Bingham had scored just 26 points in the contest, but it found its offense, much of it set up off of big plays at the defensive end, and pulled away to a 49-42 victory.
In Miner-like fashion, Brayden Cosper stepped from the shadows during that critical 12-0 sequence, scoring six straight points late in the game (and nine overall) to keep the banner in South Jordan. Parker scored 15 in the title game and Youngblood added 11, but as the last two years have shown, depth and a total team effort is what stands out at Bingham, and that is story No. 21 on our TOSH Top 25 stories of the 2016-17 school sports year.
TOSH Top 25 Stories of 2016-2017