BOUNTIFUL — Bountiful survived a relentless effort from Bingham, 50-46, in boys' basketball action Tuesday night to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
The physical play of the two teams, closeness of the score, and the dueling student sections made for an electric atmosphere, especially for a preseason game.
Both teams are in a unique position this season in that they are both replacing all five starters from last year.
Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell said one of the challenges is obviously inexperience, but he was proud of the way his team finished and hit its free throws down the stretch.
"We are still a long ways away. How many 3's did they (Bingham) get off?" Maxwell asked.
The answer is 24, of which the Miners made eight.
The reason Bingham put up so many 3s was due in part to the physical play down low by both teams. Maxwell said Bingham kept knocking his big men off the block.
"It was a good, hard-fought game," he said. "This is why we schedule each other, we knew it would be close."
Bingham jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, but Bountiful regained a three-point edge by the end of the first quarter and the Braves would not surrender it for the remainder of the game. Bountiful's biggest lead of the game occurred halfway through the third quarter when the Braves extended the margin to eight.
The Braves also pushed the lead to six a few times late in the fourth quarter, but each time the game looked to be in hand, Bingham came storming back. The Miners' refusal to go away late in the game could be attributed to clutch 3-pointers from Eric Hannay, who went 3-for-4 from behind the arc. Cody Benson, who led all scorers with 20 points, was also a deep threat for the Miners, hitting four 3-pointers of his own.
Benson says the Miners were able to stay in the game until the end because they "will never quit."
Down the stretch, Brandon Yates and Brit Harding each stepped up to lead the Braves. The pair combined to go 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. They also led the Braves in scoring. Harding had 17 and Yates scored 10.
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Harding's biggest play of the game came with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter. The Braves were ahead by three when Harding stole the ball at half court and took it back for a layup. He then stole the inbounds pass, which led to Bountiful hitting two free throws and extending the lead to seven.
Harding believes that Bountiful is still a contender for the 4A title despite losing 10 seniors from last season.
"We have a winning tradition here and great coaches," he said. "We all have to step up."