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American Fork • Growing pains are part of progression. Bingham showcased both its potential and its youth in the first round of the Elite 8 Tournament at American Fork on Thursday.
The Miners switched to cruise control after establishing a 20-point lead after three quarters, allowing Olympus to make the final score, 67-58, look closer than reality. Bingham coach Jake Schroeder said the Miners are approaching the weekend as if they were playing in the state tournament, "survive and advance," he said, so from that standpoint his team accomplished the objective.
"[Olympus will] shoot the heck out of it. That's where our lack of experience hurts us," Schroeder explained. "We only really [have] two guys with any varsity experience. It hurts us in situations like that. It's what hurt against Riverton, but we battled through it and we hit foul shots when we needed to. We played really well for three and a half quarters."
The first two Bingham (3-0) possessions resulted in two Yoeli Childs dunks. It was the theme of the night. Childs, an athletic forward committed to BYU and known more for his ability to finish at the rim than his shooting, revealed an expanded combination of interior and exterior efficiency, finishing with 29 points on 12 of 15 attempts from the floor, including a 3-pointer.
"He's worked hard. He's a heck of a player. I'm glad he's here," Schroeder said. "When he starts his game working inside like he did tonight with two straight dunks, it's easy for him to expand it a little bit. I think that's how teams are going to play him. They're going to make him beat them from outside. He was really under control tonight."
Childs added eight rebounds, two assists and four blocks.
"Everything," Childs said when asked what he dedicated the summer to improve on. "Working on my guard skills, just in the gym a ton, working every day to get better."
Childs' guard skills might prove beneficial. Bingham is stacked in the front court, but the Miners have sputtered in the recent past in escaping defensive pressure with their backcourt, and specifically alleviating attention from Childs in the paint. Lleyton Parker, who chipped in 14 points and three assists, and Dason Youngblood served as viable option for three and a half quarters until Olympus (2-1) intensified its defense.
The Titans pulled within 59-53 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation behind Isaac Monson, Jeremy DowDell and Miles Keller, who collectively accounted for 77 percent of Olympus' offensive production. Bingham's 18 turnovers compounded its struggles.
"Couple dumb mistakes," Childs said. "We're a real young team right now. It's the beginning of the year, we'll get through it. Also, credit to them. They hit pretty tough shots."
Bingham will face Sky View, which knocked off Davis, in the second round on Friday at 8:15 p.m. at American Fork.
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P Bingham holds on after nearly squandering 20-point advantage in the fourth quarter
• Yoeli Childs finishes with 29 points on 12 of 15 shooting and corrals eight rebounds
• The Miners will play Sky View in the second round at 8:15 p.m. Friday