SOUTH JORDAN — It's important to be at your best in the fourth quarter.
Facing down its rival Friday evening, Bingham certainly saved its best for last. The Miners used clutch free-throw shooting and dominating post play to gain separation from Riverton in the fourth quarter and come away with a hard-fought win, 60-53.
Seven-foot center Brandon Morley led the way for Bingham with a team-high 21 points, while Stephan Holm led the way for Riverton with a game-high 24 points and five 3-pointers.
"It was a tough game and Riverton is a great team, so this is a really good win for us," said Bingham coach Mark Dubach. "You expect that type of game whenever you play Riverton."
The game was tight throughout and neither team enjoyed more than a five-point lead until the fourth quarter. Riverton led at the half 27-26 before Bingham took a 41-40 lead into the final period.
The Miners jumped out early in the fourth, outscoring the Silverwolves 8-2 in the first three minutes and looking poised to coast to victory. Riverton had other ideas, however, and kept coming back on the wings of Holm, who hit three 3-pointers in the game's final five minutes.
"Stephan Holm not only is a great player, but their coach does a great job putting him in position to get good shots," Dubach said. "You expect that from a player like that and he made it tough for us to keep the lead."
The Silverwolves managed to cut the lead to 53-50 with just over three minutes left, but that was as close as they'd get. Consecutive baskets from Morley pushed the lead to 57-50 and all but put the game away.
A big key for Bingham late was simply making free throws. The team converted 12-of-16 attempts in the second half after hitting just 7 of 14 attempts in the first. "Sometimes it's just that simple, but we made free throws in the second half that we didn't make in the first," Dubach said.1 comment on this story
Another big key was the biggest player on the court — Morley. The Bingham center made his presence felt early and finished off Riverton late with dominating post play on both ends of the court.
"Brandon isn't just big, but he's very skilled and moves very well for someone of his size," Dubach said. "It's huge for us having that type of presence inside and he keeps improving and he was big for us tonight."
With the win Bingham improves to 11-5 and, more importantly, 2-1 in Region 4. It will next take on defending 5A champ Lone Peak on the road this coming Tuesday.
Riverton falls to 8-8 and 0-3 in region play. It will next take on Lehi at home.