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Idaho Enterprise

MHS Lady Dragons Basketball split games on the road

The Lady Dragons finished up the 2023-2024 basketball season on the road, splitting their games against Soda Springs and American Falls.  Adding both a win and a loss to their record, Malad tallied up an impressive record of 17-4, one of the best records in Lady Dragon’s history.

Malad played their final district opponent of the season as they traveled to Soda Springs for their second matchup.  The Lady Dragons previously beat the Cardinals when they played them in Malad, winning 54-52.

The Lady Dragons came out strong as the clock began counting down the first quarter.  Their quick defense grabbed a steal on the Cardinals first possession.  Taking the ball down the court, point guard Izzy Haycock dribbled to the right wing, moving into position for a pass into the wing.  Posting up on the block, Olivia Nelson, pushed her defender up to give her room for the lob pass from Haycock for the shot.  Bouncing it off the rim, Nelson grabbed the rebound for the outback and Malad’s first two points of the game.

Stepping up on defense on the other end of the court, the Lady Dragons forced the Cardinals to hit the ball out of court and turn over possession of the ball.  Haycock brought the ball down the right side again, driving to the deep corner to find Nelson posted up again.  Haycocked lobbed the pass inside for Nelson to grab and easily lay in.

The MHS offense continued to dominate the court as Haycock, Hallie Horsley, and Nelson added points off of offensive rebounds and from the free throw line before Soda Springs put their first points up to make the score 9-1.  The scored basket allowed the Cardinals the opportunity to set up in their tough, full court defense and challenge Malad as they brought the ball down the court.  Picking up a steal, Soda Spring put in a quick layup and set up their high pressure defense again.

Soda Springs struggled to hit their shots as they settled into their offense, largely due to Malads defense and tough pressure.  After picking up the rebound, Horsley passed out to Brynnlee Jones who connected with Haycock near midcourt.  Looking up ahead, Haycock found Oaklie Hebdon spotting up on the arc, passing the ball up for the assist as Hebdon sank the three pointer.  The Lady Dragons continued to play their fast paced game, pushing up and down the court throughout the first quarter to lead 17-12.

The Cardinals attempted to battle back as they began the second quarter, but the Lady Dragon offense was ready to keep their lead alive.  On their first play of the game, Nelson set the pick as Jones drifted to the deep corner where Hebdon passed her the ball.  Rolling to the basket, Jones passed into Nelson who found herself surrounded by Cardinal defenders.  Seeing Horsley open on the opposite block, Nelson bounce passed the ball under the hoop and over to her for the shot and score.

The Malad posts continued to dominate inside for the MHS offense.  Coming off the bench, Mikell Keetch caught the skip pass from Hebdon on the opposite wing for the drive and, drawing the defense to her, bounced the ball over to Horsley as she came in from the short corner for the uncontested baseline lay up.  Keetch added another score from the paint off of the drive, as well as Nelson and Horsley each putting up another shot from the block and short corner to end the half 29-21.

Coming out fired up and determined, the Cardinals brought a renewed intensity to the third quarter as they closed the gap on the scoreboard, eventually taking the lead 31-34 as the time on the clock hit 4:03.  The Lady Dragons answered back as Hebdon drove into the key for the pull up jumper for two points to bring them back within one.  Looking to pressure the Soda Springs offense, Malad set up in their full court press.  Not able to handle the full court defense, the Cardinals remained scoreless over the remainder of the quarter, going into the final quarter 34-36.

Quick to score in the final eight minutes of the game, the Lady Dragons worked the ball around before Horsley found the opening for a long jump shot to tie the game, 36-36.  Getting fouled on the shot and hitting one of two free throw shots, the Cardinals took a short lead once again.  Back in Lady Dragon territory, Malad inbounded the ball from under the hoop as Nelson screened and sealed the Cardinal defense, allowing Horsley the open shot to take the lead, 38-37.

Not giving up, Soda Springs managed a fastbreak down the court, converting their hustle to another score.  After the score, they quickly settled into their press, managing a quick steal and second score to put themselves up, 38-41.  The Lady Dragons continued to fight on the court and on the scoreboard, bringing it to within one point again as Hebdon passed the ball down into Horsley on the left block for another banked shot.  With under a minute left on the clock, the Lady Dragons pushed for possession opportunities by fouling the Cardinals.  Hitting their bonus shots, the Soda Springs expanded their lead to win the game, 40-45.

Head Coach Trevor Jones shared, “It was a tough loss to take and it stings.  When you play a tough team, you can’t afford mistakes, even small ones.  Looking back, we had some breakdowns that made the difference in the final score.  But we are determined to learn from our mistakes and let the sting fuel us as we move forward.”
The Lady Dragons wrapped up their season as they traveled to play the American Falls Beavers.  Malad began their season with their home opener against American Falls, winning 53-39.  The MHS team was sure it would be a tough game, but was unprepared for the Beavers to come out and hit several three pointers in the opening quarter.  Buttoning down their defense and stepping up their offense, the Lady Dragons began to bounce back to the Beavers quick lead.  Going on a 6-0 scoring run, Malad cut the lead to a single point as the first half closed out, 23-24.

Working through the second half, the Lady Dragons worked, both offensively and defensively, to take over the game and the scoreboard.  Within the first minute of the third quarter, Jones put up a three pointer off a perfect pass from Hebdon to take the lead.  Although the Beavers put up a strong fight, Malad began to pull away with great inside drives and rebound putbacks.

Malad solidified their lead in the final quarter as the went 14-4 in the final eight minutes of the game.  Horsley led with 19 points for the Lady Dragons in her final regular season game, adding 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot.  Jones put up stats across the board as she had 13 points, 8 rebounds to lead the team, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.  Nelson led the team with 12 rebounds, adding another 2 points, 1 blocks and a team leading 4 steals.

With the regular season closing out, the Lady Dragons deservingly celebrate a year of winning records for their Varsity (17-4), JV (18-3) and C team (10-9).  Coach Jones commented, “It’s a pretty special season to end with winning records on all levels. The future is pretty bright- you know these girls will keep putting in the work so you know we will be even brighter in the future!” 

         Continuing he shared, “It’s about progress and to see the strides these Ladies are making is pretty phenomenal.  It is about pushing and helping each other grow. On all levels we are seeing that, it’s a huge reward as a program to be able to practice and have the ability to play and scrimmage at a high level with girls that strive to become better and push each other to be their best. They are truly a special group of girls. It’s going to be exciting to see what they all accomplish.”

        The varsity team moves into their postseason district games, taking on the Bear Lake Bears in Montpelier on Thursday, February 1 in their tournament opener.  Having lost to Bear Lake twice in the season, the Lady Dragons are determined to bring home the win.  “It’s hard to beat a team three times, and we are about to show them that,” shared the Lady Dragons coaching staff.  They will play again Saturday night, opponent and location to be determined.

2024 MHS School Sports Schedule
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