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MHS Boys Basketball Loses Two Close Games on the Road to West Side, Soda

Taking their game on the road, the Malad Dragons put up two impressive games over the last week as they traveled to play the West Side Pirates and the Soda Springs Cardinals.  Despite their hard work and execution, Malad came up short in both games, but proved they are a team to never count out.

Playing first against West Side on Wednesday, January 31, Malad battled it out on the court, going neck and neck on the scoreboard throughout the night.  The Pirates came out to an early lead, but the Dragons managed to tie the score at 14 after Baylor Bean cut up from the left corner to the top of the key to catch the skip pass from Ryan Hubbard in the corner before driving down the left lane for the lay up.  

Brady Showell stopped the West Side drive on the other end of the court, taking a charge in the key to key the Pirates from scoring and put the ball back in Malad’s hands.  Ben Peterson converted the defensive efforts into another Dragon score as he slashed across the key for the pass and the quick jumper to take the lead.  The Dragons continued to attack the basket, putting points on the scoreboard with the Pirates close on their heels as they ended the first quarter, 21-19.

Malad’s lead lasted midway through the second quarter before West Side tied it up again, pushing the pace of the game with quick ball movement up and down the court and inside for the shot.  Both teams added to their score over the last few minutes of the half but remained tied at 33-33 as the second quarter closed out.

The Pirates came out hard in the third quarter of the game, despite Malad’s tough defense, and began to put some distance behind them on the scoreboard.  Not to be deterred, the Dragons bounced back with their strong offense, as Carter Carey, Hubbard and Peterson stroked in shots all across the court.  Showell brought it within one point as he managed a three point play, hitting both the shot from the block and the foul line after getting fouled on the play.

After going up and down the court several times, Zack Richardson tied the game back up with the three pointer in the corner after inbounding the ball and coming out off the screen.  The Pirates tacked on a final shot before the third quarter ended, making it 50-52.

 Continuing the fourth quarter where the third had left off, the game was truly anyones for the taking.  Down by two, Malad’s defense pressured the West Side offense, extending their setup beyond half court.  Reading the play perfectly, Peterson picked off the pass across the court, taking it down to Dragon territory for the lay up to tie the game at 64 with 45 seconds left on the clock.  Wearing down the time, the Pirates put up a shot as the clock read 13.3, making the basket and the bonus shot after being fouled.  

Calling a timeout, Malad devised a plan for a final score of the game.  Working the ball down the court with only 4 seconds remaining, the Dragons sent up a final shot just in time to beat the buzzer, but it bounced off the rim, leaving Malad trailing 64-67.

Two days later, the Dragons traveled to Soda Springs in their second matchup of the season.  The Malad boys came out to take the lead early in the game, building momentum as they worked the ball around and into the hoop possession after possession.  Returning to the game after sitting out due to an injury, Braylen Tripp put up the first Dragon score with a baseline drive as they easily broke the Cardinal press.  Richardson swished the net with a shot from the arc followed by a perfect jumper from Carey as met the pass from Peterson on the elbow.  

The Malad defense did their part to not only stop Soda Springs from scoring but also picked off the ball to set up another Dragon score when Hubbard tapped the ball rolling down the court and passed it down to Peterson for the lay in.  Calling a timeout to address the surge, the Cardinals managed to slow the momentum and keep Malad from running away with the game.  But the Dragons were tough to hold back as they continued to work the ball into the basket to lead at the end of the first quarter 17-8.

Over the next quarter, the Cardinals found a way to slow the Dragon offense, allowing only 5 points to their 12 to finish out the first half Malad 22, Soda Springs 20.

The third quarter began just as intense and competitive with the Cardinals hitting a quick shot to tie the game before Richardson drained another three point shot from the wing.  Trying to catch the Malad defense unprepared, Soda Springs attempted quick ball movement down the court, finding an open player set up for what looked like an easy layup.  But in just two steps, Tripp rotated and stepped down the lane to meet the Soda player and block the shot off the glass and completely deny the shot. 

The Dragon defense played all out through the third quarter as they pressured the ball full court, putting themselves in position for a steal and score, forcing the Cardinals to dribble out of bounds as they moved up the sideline and rushed steps that resulted in a travel.  Despite their low scoring quarter, the defense kept them in the lead as they put up 9 points to the Cardinal’s 7.

Into the fourth quarter, Soda Springs managed to cut the lead and take over as they hit two free throws to make the score 33-34.  The score bounced back and forth between the two teams as they both were desperate to put points up on the scoreboard.  On the block, Showell hit another crucial basket followed by a foul shot to take the lead over on the heels of a big three pointer from Richardson.  

Just as soon as the Dragons could put a little space on the scoreboard, the Cardinals would swoop back in to cut the lead, even until the very last seconds of the game.  With 10 seconds left on the clock, Soda Springs sent up a shot from the wing to tie the game up at 44 and to send the game into overtime.

Try as they could, Malad wasn’t able to keep the Cardinals down in the extra four minutes of the game as they outscored them 2-10, finishing the game 46-54 in favor of Soda Springs.

When asked to comment on the week’s games, Coach Zach Beutler shared, “We had a couple of tough losses but we had a lot of good things happening on the court.  Our defense has made some good stops while our shots have started falling better.  We are seeing improvements in many aspects of the game which is what we are asking of our team.”

The Dragon basketball team moves into their final regular season games, hosting West Side for their last home game on Tuesday, February 6 before finishing the season in Bear Lake on Thursday, February 8.

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