It should be a fun game for the boys. It’s crazy that this will be the fourth time we’ve played, but those last three really don’t matter now. —Bingham coach Jake Schroeder on his team's matchup Saturday in the 5A state title game
SALT LAKE CITY — A trip to the 5A championship game is motivation enough, but for Bingham, Friday's semifinal matchup versus Layton added something a little extra to its motivation.
A year ago the Lancers bounced the Miners in the 5A state quarterfinal round 62-53, a tough loss to swallow considering Bingham was tabbed as one of the tournament favorites at the time.
It was a loss Bingham players and coach Jake Schroeder had in their minds leading up to and during Friday's contest, making the 71-42 semifinal win that much sweeter.
“It’s a little something extra when a team beats you twice in a row like that,” said Bingham forward Yoeli Childs. “They smacked us on this court this past summer by 20, so there was some extra motivation going into this game.”
That motivation had a hard time showing itself until late in the second quarter.
Layton fought Bingham to a 12-12 tie after one quarter, and had things tied at 20-20 late in the second. But three consecutive 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater from Childs, earned the Miners some decent breathing space at 29-22.
From there the Miners rolled.
The third quarter saw Schroeder's team hitting on all cylinders, outscoring the Lancers 23-11 to take a commanding 52-33 lead heading into the final period. Bingham kept the pressure on throughout the fourth to win going away.
“Once we got a couple of stops we kind of got flowing a little bit,” Schroeder said. “We really defended (with) active hands and we just look forward to come out of there.”
As always, Bingham's onslaught was led by tenacious defense with Childs leading the way in that department. Altogether the 6-foot-8 BYU signee compiled six blocked shots to go along with 11 rebounds and 20 points.
“I don’t really focus on blocks, I just want to contest shots,” Childs said. “A lot of teams aren’t used to our length and size.”
“He was phenomenal tonight,” Schroeder added of Childs' play. “He’s played a lot of minutes for me these last three games. He’s been beat up, he’s been knocked down, but he just keeps on going and gets better and better. We’re going to keep riding him as long as we can.”
Bingham finished the night with five players finishing with double figures in scoring. Whether it was Childs, Schyler Shoemaker (12 points), Samuta Avea (11), Lleyton Parker (14) or Simote Lokotui (11), the Miners proved prolific during most possessions on offense.
With the win, Bingham marches on to take on Copper Hills in the 5A state semifinals. Having faced off against the Grizzlies three times already this season, Schroeder expects few surprises come Saturday's game.
“We don’t really need to do a scouting report and I’m sure coach (Andrew) Blanchard (Copper Hills coach) doesn’t have to do one,” Schroeder said. “It should be a fun game for the boys. It’s crazy that this will be the fourth time we’ve played, but those last three really don’t matter now.”
Bingham won the final two contests against Copper Hills after dropping the first matchup early in the season. Over the course of three games, Bingham players have gained a lot of respect for what the Grizzlies do and what they're capable of.
“Copper Hills is a great team — not just great players, but a great team,” Childs said. “So it will be a lot of fun."