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Idaho Enterprise

Basketball Wrap up

   With the final state championship games over, the winter sports season has officially come to an end.  The Malad Dragons saw some ups and down over the last season with big wins, upsets and losses in all of their sporting events.  As the winter season wraps up, the MHS coaches share highlights, challenges, and the excitement of future prospects in a Q&A with The Idaho Enterprise.


Boys Basketball Head Coach Zach Beutler 

Overall, how did your season go? 

Overall we were pleased as a staff on the progress the boys made this season. The boys did a great job engaging and learning defensive concepts that were new to them.  The varsity team held opponents to an average of 52 points. Didn’t meet our goal of 48 or fewer but made some great headway.  The JV team made excellent progress as well. They were the youngest JV team in the district with half of the players being 9th graders. On the season they had the best W/L record seen by a JV Malad team in several years.

What were the challenges you faced?

         We faced many challenges, the biggest was that there has not been a Malad youth program consistently in place for at least 20 years. It is difficult for these boys to show up for high school basketball tryouts without the IQ or physical skill set needed to compete with schools that have brought their kids up in healthy youth programs. There are individuals that have put time in and prepared themselves but as a whole the kids are behind.

In 2A basketball in Idaho you can win some games and pull some things off when you have a group of athletes. However to really compete, when it matters they have to have a solid foundation.  There are no shortcuts to sustained success.

What were some of the highlights of the season?

         The greatest highlight for me this season was seeing the boys become mentally engaged in the game. I see myself as an educator. We worked consistently with them to teach, rep drills and implement concepts that were new to them. We watched film as a team and had open discussions on what we saw in full speed and slow motion. This is a powerful learning tool. It was rewarding to see them come to understand what was being taught and make progress as a team.

         There is a  learning process we have outlined in 4 stages.  1- Unconscious incompetency: “ignorance” we don’t know what we don’t know.  2- Conscious incompetency: we become aware of our ignorance.  3- Conscious competency: this is where we learn and understand how to do something but it requires concentration and we are not versed in the skill.  

4- Unconscious competency: this is when things become “second nature” to us. We don’t have to pause and think at this point we act and react flawlessly. This comes with practice and repetition.

         Seeing the boys work through these stages was very rewarding. When it comes to basketball our goal is to have all players be to at least stage 3 when they arrive at tryouts as a freshman. To be successful and reach their genetic potential on the basketball court they will need to be at stage 4 long before they are seniors.

What are you most looking forward to in your season next year?

         I am looking forward to working with the guys in the off-season and in turn seeing the progress they make come next season.  We have a healthy youth program in place and will see a freshman class join us next year that has played a lot of basketball and has been taught how to play the game the right way.  We have a group of upperclassmen that I’m confident will build on the principles they have learned from us since June and put the time and effort that is needed to find success during the season.

Is there anything else you want to share about your team?

I would like to thank those that have stepped forward to teach and lead the youth in our community through the sport of basketball. My assistant coaches in the high school: Clint Bastian, Zack Jeppsen & Jordan Beutler and their families for supporting them in the time and comment it takes to coach.

I would also like to recognize and thank those that are working with the middle school and elementary aged teams- 5th grade Trisha Beutler & Austin Tubbs, 6th grade Jedd Ward, Ken Ward & Jason Vanbebber, 7th grade Trisha Beutler & Chet Keetch, and 8th grade Marshal Martinsen.

Having good people teaching sound principles consistently at the younger ages will provide a healthy feeder for the high school. When coaching, especially youth the right way it takes special people that refuse to cut corners. It is a temptation to play junk defense and run gimmicky offensive sets to “win games'' with the younger kids. These are shortcuts that in the long term hurt the boys development and understanding of the game. I’m thankful for these good people willing to teach and guide the younger boys.


At the season close out, the coaches tallied up the team and individual statistics to recognize those leaders that stepped up on the court in their various fields.

Defense Leader- Jaden Ward  

2 Point Field Goal Leader- Braylen Tripp (55%) 

Block Leader- Braylen Tripp (25 blocks)

Team First- Baylor Bean 

Total Rebound Leader- Ryan Hubbard (123 rebounds)

Steal Leader- Brycen Howe  (34 steals)

Free Throw Leader- Brycen Howe (80%)

Mr.Hustle- Ruger Smith 

Player Coach of The Year- Carter Carey

Middle School Basketball

The Middle School Knights have closed out their winter basketball season, both 7th and 8th grade teams ending the season not only with winning records but as District champions.  The coaches are proud and pleased with the growing youth basketball program and the progress their teams have made over the season.

Head Coach of the 7th grade team, Trisha Beutler had a lot of great things to say about the season, writing, “Our overall record was nine wins and six losses.  Of those six losses, three of those games were one possession losses, including a long three pointer for the win that went in just after the buzzer.  We came back from a 21 point deficit to an athletically superior American Falls team to bring it within 6 points in the 4th quarter.  

“Our district tournament was held in Grace this year and we went into the tournament ranked #2 behind Grace (who we lost to twice in the regular season and once in the fall Preston league).  We played Aberdeen first and pulled away from them beating them 51-35.  We met up with Grace for the championship game.  It was a close and intense game.  

“We found ourselves down at half by four points.  We talked to the boys about winning each quarter and the way that we do that is by executing the offensive and defensive principles we had repped all season. The boys answered this call. In the third quarter, Grace went from playing man to man defense into a 2-3 zone, we adjusted offensively and hit four big three point shots to put us ahead.  We fed off of that momentum and went to the free throw line and hit 12/14 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the game with a 64-60 victory. 

“This season we focused on players recognizing the significance of their role and the expectation associated with that role. We wanted them to recognize how consistently fulfilling their roles to the best of their ability in both practice and in games is imperative to the success of the team and in life.  We wanted these boys to gain confidence in doing and overcoming difficult things, including being held accountable for an expectation and recognizing that growth comes through discomfort. We continually spoke about accepting responsibility for actions both on and off the court.  

         “We watched these boys grow and progress in all of these areas.  We watched them work harder and longer than they thought they could, we watched them fight to control emotions, we watched them extend mercy, we watched them accept responsibility and make recompense. We watched them work selflessly and diligently to give teammates the opportunity to score the basketball. We watched them fulfill their roles. We watched them bring all that they had worked hard to accumulate throughout the season and give these accumulations to their team in order to achieve success. 

“We are so proud of these boys and all that they have accomplished and the growth we have seen both on and off the court.  Members of this year's team included:  Gunner Vanbebber, Rylinn Beck, Mason Ball, Jaxton Price, Noah Hubbard, Oak Smith, Jaxon Mills, Krey Keetch, Dawson Beutler, Trigger Jones, Evan Colton, and Rowdy Bates. Our team managers were Mason Eliason and Austin Jeppson. The boys were coached by Trisha Beutler and Chet Keetch.

         “Each year is a learning and growing experience for the coaches as well as for the boys.  One thing that I am recognizing as a coach is how critical a good assistant coach is to the development and success of a team. This year Chet Keetch volunteered his time to assist me in coaching these boys.  I am so appreciative to Chet for all of his time and effort and what he brought to the table to help these boys better themselves as basketball players and as human beings.

         “We will offer open gym opportunities for all middle school boys this spring and summer as well as a camp in Malad in June directed by Kyle Taylor from SLCC.”

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