MHS Lady Dragons Basketball
With the season winding down for high school girls basketball, the Lady Dragons played two of their final three district games as they hosted the West Side Pirates on Thursday, January 18 for their final regular season game and traveled to Bear Lake on Saturday, January 20, splitting the games to bring their season record to 16-3.
Thursday night’s game was not only a night to celebrate the great season of home games where the Lady Dragons went 8-1, but to also recognize the graduating seniors on the MHS girls basketball team- Hallie Horsley and Oaklie Hebdon. Speaking of the seniors, Head Coach Trevor Jones commented, “These two girls have been a big part of Malad basketball for a long time. They have had to step up and lead out over and over again. We are so proud of their hard work and growth throughout the years and know they will accomplish great things in their future.”
Starting alongside seniors Hebdon and Horsley was teammate Riglee Peterson who suffered a serious knee injury over the summer break that left her unable to participate in the 2023-2024 Lady Dragon basketball season. Peterson played an important role as they played throughout the off-season and remained dedicated to her team despite having to sit out. Wanting to show his appreciation and support in return, Coach Jones invited her to step in and suit up for the tip off of the final home game of the season.
It didn’t take long for the two seniors to hit their stride in the game as Hebdon picked up a long West Side rebound to take to the basket for a fast break. With defenders on her, Hebdon bounced the shot off the rim, coming off the weak side where Horsley picked up the rebound and put back in for the Lady Dragons first two points of the game. Izzy Haycock added another point on the next possession after being fouled on another fastbreak drive. Hebdon put up a three on the next trip down the court on a pass out from Haycock.
The Lady Dragons continued to dominate the game, controlling the play at both ends of the court. Their tough full court defense was a perfect offense to put points on the scoreboard. Quickly jumping to trap the West Side player with the ball, Kiley Miller and Mikell Keetch forced a poor pass over Miller’s head that she was able to snatch out of the air and send back to meet Keetch at the block for an easy lay up.
The Pirates attempted to put up a full court press against the Lady Dragons, but Malad easily maneuvered through it for another score. Bringing the ball down the floor with multiple defenders on her, Keetch connected with Miller at the center court. Pivoting out, Miller looked down court where she passed to Horsley on the wing. Spinning around her defender, Horsley took the ball to the hoop for Malad score.
As the two teams paused the game at half, the Lady Dragons were up 42-12 on the scoreboard. Jumping back into the game, just as they had left off, Malad put up six points in the first minute of the third quarter. After working the ball around, Brynnlee Jones found Hebdon open on the left wing, connecting with a bounce pass before Hebdon sailed the ball through the net for the three. Returning the favor on the following possession, Hebdon passed up from the deep corner to Jones on the right wing for another three points.
Jones and Hebdon had an impressive night from behind the arc, with Jones hitting 5/7 (71%) and tallying up 15 points while Hebdon went 4/7 (57%) with 16 points. Horsley added 13 points and Keetch put up another 10.
The Lady Dragons did well to limit the Pirates' second chance attempts as they picked up 23 defensive rebounds to West Side’s 10 offensive. Leading on rebounds for Malad was Horsley with 9 with Jones adding 6 and Miller another 5. Defensively, Olivia Nelson led out on steals with 5, coming in to intercept the pass as the ball was thrown into posts.
Moving into the fourth quarter with more than 30 points ahead, the scoreboard clock ran continuously as the Lady Dragons finished off their home games for the season with a final win over the Pirates, 71-22.
Malad finished out their week playing against the Bear Lake Bears, the only district team that had defeated them. With a drive to win, the Lady Dragons came out big in the first quarter, putting up 20 points to Bear Lake’s 12. Once again, Hebdon and Jones were hot from the three point line, hitting five shots from behind the arc.
Unfortunately, the magic of the first quarter ran out as the Lady Dragons struggled to outperform the Bears in the following quarters. Bear Lake began closing the gap in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 25-21 at half. The Lady Dragons came into the third quarter finding several scoring opportunities against the tough defense, but couldn’t get the shots to fall. The two teams went into the fourth quarter, tied at 36 points.
The Bears came out quick in the final quarter, putting up 9 points to the Lady Dragons 2 in the first two minutes of play, a deficit they were never unable to overcome as they lost, 49-57.
Coach Jones shared, “The girls put themselves in a great position to start the game but unfortunately we just couldn’t hold it. We went into the second half with the goal to out rebound Bear Lake, which we did, but they just hit too many good shots on the first attempt. Despite the final results, we are proud of the hard work these girls continue to put into their team and the game. We are looking forward to taking down Bear Lake in the district games.”