Despite a longstanding prep basketball tradition, Bingham took its first title in 11 years Saturday night as the Miners clobbered the cold-shooting American Fork Cavemen 65-41 in the championship game of the 4A basketball tournament at the Huntsman Center
In the lopsided affair in which American Fork witnessed a shooter's worst nightmare, the Miners' 6-foot-7 tandem of Kenneth Roberts and Mike Van Staveren combined for 33 points and 26 rebounds - 16 points and 12 boards for Roberts and 17 and 14 for Van Staveren.
The championship is the sixth in Bingham's history - and the sixth that Coach George Sluga has had a hand in. He played on the Miners' first title-taking team in 1960, then coached a pair of back-to-back crowns - '73-'74 and '77-'78.
And, by coincidence or not, each of Sluga's championship squads has included a player named Roberts. First, there was Glen, and then Fred, and now Kenneth, the youngest of six brothers.
So, while Kenneth joins some pretty heady company among the Roberts clan, brother Fred - currently a member of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks - was plenty interested in the newest pledge in the makeshift family fraternity. So much so that he arranged for several phone calls Saturday night to the Deseret News inquiring about the 4A game while the Bucks were playing host to the Houston Rockets.
So what's Sluga going to do now that the Roberts family tree has reached the end of the branch 0 Kenneth coming back for his senior season notwithstanding. "Grandsons are coming along - hopefully," said Sluga, before being dragged out to a basket and lifted up to ceremoniously cut the final strand of the net.
While it has been more than a decade since Bingham's last basketball title, Sluga said the time span was not as important as a team's season development. "Whether we win a gold or not, the kids are always better than when we started. We would have been proud with the second-place trophy."
Which is what American Fork earned, but not for lack of effort. The Cavemen demise can be attributed to no-show outside shooting from the whole team - but again, not for a lack of effort.
The same AF team that hit a truckload of treys through the previous three tourney contests - a sizzling 70 percent, to be precise - ended up oh-for-17 from behind the three-point line. In fact, none of the starting guards connected from the floor and even the feared frontcourt tandem of Jonathan Miller and Eric Franson were having to watch their long-distance attempts hit iron - if they were lucky.
In the end, the Cavemen canned only 17 of 63 attempts from the floor, a frustrating 27 percent.
Franson, a 6-5 junior, finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while the 6-7 senior Miller had 11 points and eight boards.
American Fork should have had a premonition of what was coming early in the game, but Bingham was just as tight as neither team scored in the first two-plus minutes. The Miners' K.C. Tebbs drilled a 3-pointer and Miller answered a banked jumpshot to bring the Cavemen within 3-2. That would be the closest they would ever be to Bingham in the title game, as the Miners took a 10-2 "run" - if you can call it that - for a 13-4 lead after the first period.
American Fork was able to work the ball inside to Miller and Franson in the second, cutting the deficit down to single digits several times. However, Brigham brought the margin back up as Van Staveren worked his way under the basket for several easy lay-ins and a 28-16 Miner lead at intermission.
With Franson scoring 11 of his team's 16 first-half points, AF's shooting percent was 7-of-30 r or 23 percent - and made the Miners' 41 percent appear to be world class by comparison. Meanwhile, the AF off-shooting night meant that Roberts, Van Staveren and Justyn Tebbs collected 19 of their team's 23 first-half rebounds.
The third period became more a third verse for the ongoing AF blues, as K.C. Tebbs' second pointer put Bingham up by 19 midway in the quarter. About the only highlight was when Van Staveren shoved an opponent with an elbow inthe middle of a two-shot appearance at the line. The technical gave the Cavemen a pair of free throws and subsequent possession, but Miller's jumper rimmed out as AF couldn't complete the four-point play.
The fourth quarter was when Roberts really shined, combining several one-and-one opportunities with a crowd-pleasing transition-attack jam.
Bingham finished its 1988-89 championship season with a 22-1 overall record, the only blemish being a 62-57 loss in mid-January to Brighton. And the Miners could be set for another one of Sluga's repeat title performances next year, since three of the starters - Roberts and the Tebbs cousins - will be back for their senior season.
Meanwhile, American Fork concluded its campaign with a 16-8 record, having beaten the third- and fourth-ranked teams in the 4A tournament. The loss to Bingham was its third this season, having dropped a one-pointer at Bingham and losing in overtime at home.
Cottonwood 87, Brighton 81: The Colts claimed third place as five players finished in double figures. Sophomore center Justin Weidauer tallied 31 points - 10 FGs and 11-of-14 from the line, while Jason Schlenske contributed another 18 and Travis Warner had 13 points and 20 assists.
The Bengals' Drew Peterson and Marc Hagen ended with 24 and 23, respectively - a combined eight 2-pointers, six 3-pointers and a 13-of-15 performance from the line.
Bonneville 64, Granger 56: Tanoka Beard helped the Region 1 champion Lakers to a fifth-place finish by scoring 23 points, while Sean Sylvester's 17 points included a trio of treys. Granger took seventh as Jeff Hudson scored 18 and Mike Wagstaff added another 10.
Bountiful 81, Roy 64: Nearly everybody scored - 23 players in total - as the Braves earned the sixth-place consolation championship. Steve Wilkinson scored 18 for the Braves, while Matt Walton had another 16. Shane Belnap led Roy with an 11-point outing.