Bingham’s Kyle Gearig came out of the locker room at half on a mission.
Holding a wafer-thin lead over West in the first round of the Class 5A boys’ basketball tournament, Gearig and Co. were determined to halt the streaking Panthers offense.
Specifically, they had two goals — shut down West’s Riley Kenner, who was leading the charge for the Panthers with 13 points in the first half, but more importantly, Gearig knew the Miners had to get the ball to their 6-foot-7 center, Yoeli Childs.
The Miners’ defense made the first adjustment. It held Kenner scoreless in the second half, eliminating West’s biggest scoring threat. It pressured the Panthers throughout the second half with an intense man-to-man and came up with 21 rebounds after halftime.
The second adjustment was toughening up Childs and have him establish his presence on the block. Bingham coach Jake Schroeder said that Childs is the key to the Miners’ offense. They run their offense through the sophomore, trusting him to either score or kick out the ball.
“We made a big effort to get the ball inside [to Childs],” Schroeder said. “When he gets the ball down there, he’s pretty darn good.”
Childs attacked the second half with authority, establishing his position at the block. He attacked the rim and was aggressive at both ends of the court. He finished with 8 of 10 at the free-throw line, but more importantly he was able to collect 12 rebounds and block three shots.
“I am not necessarily looking for blocks — just help contest the shots,” Childs said. “Don’t give them anything easy.”
Childs finished with 14 points.
The Miners finished the game with 33 of 46 from the free-throw line, which was 25 more attempts than West.
“We knew we could get to the line,” Gearig said. “We were sluggish in the first, but we knocked down those shots in the second half.”
Bingham faces Lone Peak in the state quarterfinals Thursday.
Bingham 72, West 43
• Yoeli Childs goes 8 of 10 from the free-throw line and adds 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots
• Free throws were the difference for Bingham, which made 33 of 46 at the line for 71.7 percent
• West’s Riley Kenner drained two 3s and led the Panthers with 13 points.