American Fork • It might just have been a case of one basketball team that’s still got one foot in the football season with the other more or less fully planted on the hardwood.
Then again, Olympus showed the kind of skills Thursday night that eventually could propel the Titans deep into the playoffs. And it came against Bingham, the defending Class 5A state basketball champion, in the first round of the Utah Elite 8 tournament.
Olympus used a 14-0 second-quarter run to claim a nine-point cushion then protected that lead the rest of the way in a 63-59 win.
“I think we felt confident because they lost a few guys from last year. I think we’re always confident too, but they’re very physical,” said Titans senior Harrison Creer, who scored 15 points.
“They were trying to get into us and run us off the (3-point) line because that’s what we like to do,” Creer said. “But I think we handled the pressure really well.”
Utah commit Rylan Jones led all players with 22 points, and he punctuated the big run for Olympus (3-0) in the first half when he scored a layup after maneuvering to the hoop while wrapping the ball around his torso at the same time.
Jones finished the old-fashioned three-point play with a free throw to give the Titans a 34-29 lead with 2:24 left in the second quarter.
“That’s sweet. I mean, that’s what makes the game a game,” Creer said about Jones’ layup. “It’s just so much fun when you see something like that.”
Spencer Jones scored 10 points for Olympus and, like Creer, stepped outside of the paint to drain 3-pointers.
“They list themselves as 6 [foot] 5, but they’re about 6-2,” Olympus coach Matt Barnes said about the inside-out duo of Creer and Spencer Jones. “But they’re warriors, they battle.”
Bingham (1-2) got 12 points from Ethan Langston, while Brayden Cosper had 10 points and nine rebounds. Names like Cosper, Ryan Wood, Dax Milne and Peyton Jones are familiar to fans of the Miners’ state championship football team, which won its second title in a row last month.
And the football season might not be over for the Class 6A champs.
Like last year, Bingham may play a game against a nationally regarded foe. The Miners have come up as a possibility to play in a game in Phoenix on Dec. 23.
“All of those guys played a lot of minutes in football, and we’ll never use that as an excuse,” Miners coach Jake Schroeder said. “It’s the way we’re built at Bingham. With football, basketball and baseball, we share players.
“With that comes maybe some slow starts to the season. Mentally, it’s just a wrinkle when they know that in two or three weeks they might play another football game.”
OLYMPUS 63, BINGHAM 59
• Rylan Jones finishes with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead Olympus, which will play Corner Canyon on Friday in a semifinal of the Utah Elite 8 tournament.
• The Titans, who get 3-pointers from all five starters, take the lead with a 14-0 second-quarter run.
• Ethan Langston leads Bingham with a dozen points, while Brayden Cosper adds 10 points and nine rebounds.