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MHS Boys Basketball

Brady Showell dribbles around a block by Ryan Hubbard.

Hosting their game throughout the week, the Malad Dragons faced off against two district opponents as the Soda Springs Cardinals came to play Wednesday, January 17, followed by the Bear Lake Bears on Friday, January 19.  The MHS basketball team took losses in both games, but not without a determined fight.

The Dragons came out strong as they took on the Cardinals, keeping pace both on the court and on the scoreboard, Malad found themselves tied as the two teams went into the second half of the game.  Unfortunately, Soda Springs pulled ahead and the MHS team was unable to respond in kind and the Cardinals claimed the lead for the remainder of the game, Malad falling 54-66.  

From the tip off of their match up with the Bears, the Dragons played a highly competitive game.  Braylen Tripp started off the scoring for Malad, putting up a lay up after Ryan Hubbard came across the high post to set a pick for an open drive, putting the score even at two points each.

The Malad defense stepped up on the several following Bear Lake possessions, forcing turnovers for Dragon offense opportunities.  Setting up in a half court spread defense, the MHS team made it extremely difficult for Bear Lake to bring the ball into Bear territory.  Hoping to avoid the trap, Bear Lake looked to throw into the key, but instead overthrew the ball out of bounds.  After picking up a missed Dragon shot, the Bears head down court once again.  Tripp and Hubbard, determined to stop the ball, came up along both sides of the ball handler to where Hubbard reached in for the steal.

 Slowly, the offense began to convert the defensive stops into points on the scoreboard.  Making the most of what the Bear Lake defense would give them, the Dragons drove aggressively to the basket.  Ben Peterson worked his way down the right lane to score, followed by Tripp hitting his own lay-in on the left side on the following possession.  

  While their play inside successfully dominated the Dragon offense, Malad also found connections from the outside as.  Inbounding under the hoop, Peterson caught the ball on the right wing, swinging it to Baylor Bean at the top, who passed it onto Hubbard on the left wing.  Zack Richardson worked his way up from the right deep corner, catching the skip pass from Hubbard as the defense was overloaded on the opposite side.  Immediately, Richardson fired the ball from behind the arc to hit a three pointer to take the lead as the first quarter began to wind down.

Bear Lake hit two free throws with a minute remaining to tie the game at 11, followed by another jump shot to put them up by two.  Just when it seemed there wasn’t time for another Dragon score, Peterson made his way through the defense to put up a shot with seven seconds to go.  After the shot bounced off the rim, Brady Showell grabbed the ball for the offensive rebound and put it in for two points with just a few seconds left to spare before the buzzer rang out.

The Bears jumped out to an aggressive start to the second quarter, scoring on a fast break and forcing multiple Dragon turnovers.  Malad rallied their efforts, beating the Bear Lake defense as Tripp took the ball to the hoop with a three on two advantage that ended in a Dragon score.  

Bear Lake continued to lead on the scoreboard throughout the second quarter but Malad was able to cut the lead to a single point just under three minutes before half time.  The Dragons began passing the ball around the perimeter when Timmy Jensen, off the bench to fill in for Carter Carey that was injured earlier in the game, skipped the ball across the court to Tripp open in the corner for the three to make the score 22-23.  Over the final two minutes, both teams put up additional scoring drives, ending the half with Malad down 25-27.

The Bears came out in the third quarter ready, capitalizing on MHS breakdowns under the hoop to hit short range shots and free throws to put some distance between them on the scoreboard.  Throughout the first three minutes of the quarter, the Dragons had several scoring opportunities but only saw the ball bounce off the rim.  With 5:03 on the clock, Jensen once again connected with Tripp open at the top of the key, where he drove to the left block and laid in the first basket of the second half for Malad.

The Dragon offense began to make some slow headway as they attempted to catch up, putting up multiple drives but just as they would close the gap, the Bears offense would score again.  After two impressive scoring possessions in the final 22 seconds of the third quarter, the two teams stood 33-43.

Malad was much quicker to score in the final quarter when within the first minute Tripp, after the quick inbound and outlet passes from Peterson and Richardson, came down the open left side of the court with one thought in mind- to slam it down.  Tripp took off from the left wing and with ease, dunked the ball with two defenders looking on.

Unfortunately the fourth quarter didn’t all go as smoothly as the Dragons continued to come up short at the hoop.  Despite a few final layups and made free throws, Malad just couldn’t put up enough points to overtake the Bears, eventually falling 51-65.

After the week’s games, Coach Zack Beutler shared, “We saw a lot of great things the week but also several places we still need to address and focus on.  We are most pleased to see the team bring some resiliency.  In both of their games they fell into a slump and were able to battle back from it.  We have been asking more of some players off the bench than we usually do and they have done well to step up to the occasion.  We are pleased with the direction we are heading and hope to pull out some wins.”

The Dragons have a full week of games as they play at Aberdeen on Tuesday, January 23, making up for the postponed game canceled earlier in January.  They will then host the North Gem Cowboys on Thursday, January 25 and Aberdeen again at home on Saturday January 27.

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