SOUTH JORDAN — Bingham coach Jake Schroeder had no idea what to expect from leading scorer Jordan Evans heading into Friday’s region game with Copper Hills.
Evans was suiting up for the first time since breaking a bone in his right hand on Jan. 21, but all week in practice he’d played timidly as one would expect.
“To be honest, I didn’t know if I was going to play him because in practice he was really tentative with it, so I went with a lot of the other guys,” said Schroeder.
Evans played sparingly in the first half, scoring just two points, but once he settled in and got comfortable playing with a soft cast, he quickly took things over. The senior scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half — and 15 in the fourth quarter — to lead Bingham to the critical 63-50 victory over the Grizzlies.
With the win, Bingham moves into sole possession of second pace in Region 3 with a one-game lead on Copper Hills and Brighton with four games remaining.
“The tough part of our schedule starts now with three road games and then ends with Alta here. If we want to get where we want to get, we’ve got to win on the road. So far we’ve been all right, but we’ve got to win these next three,” said Schroeder.
Getting Evans back, the only Bingham player who averages in double figures, will certainly help.
Bingham led Friday’s game for all but one 30-second stretch in the first quarter, but it never effectively pulled away from Copper Hills until early in the fourth quarter.
Evans and Yoeli Childs, who added 16 points and 11 rebounds, were the catalysts down the stretch for the Miners.
With Bingham leading 33-31 with 3:11 left in the third, Evans and Childs scored Bingham’s last six points to extend the lead to 39-33 heading into the fourth.
Evans proceeded to score 12 of Bingham’s first 14 points in the fourth quarter as it built a 53-40 lead with 3:35 remaining. Following a couple of Copper Hills’ technical fouls and several more turnovers by the young Grizzlies — who finished with 17 turnovers — the Miners eventually stretched their lead to 19.
As pleased as Schroeder was with how his team finished the game, he was equally as pleased with how his players executed the game plan defensively.
“They have a lot of shooters and guys that can do some things inside, so almost gimmicky we just kept going from man to zone to keep them off-balanced as best we could,” said Schroeder.
It worked as Copper Hills never settled into any rhythm offensively and as a result was forced to play from behind the entire game.
“We knew how important this game was to take a lead in second place and keep our hopes alive for a region championship,” said Evans.
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