Malad High School
Conference: 2A South East Idaho Conference
Head Coach: Sheldon Vaughan
Years as Head Coach: 4th season
Previous Experience: I have been coaching something for 40 years
State Titles: 5 state championships under Coach Terry Jones
Tyrel Neal, Randy Willie, Lance Tripp
Written by: Sven Alskog
Full of rich history on the hardwood, Malad has run into a state tournament dry spell over recent years. Coming off a 17-6 season, the Dragons will look to give themselves a chance at adding on to their five state tournament titles from the time under former Head Coach Terry Jones in the new campaign.
On paper this appears to be a group primed to make an impact down south in the 2A classification, having gained plenty of experience to go along with a strong talent base.
The team will have to bounce back after a disappointing end to last season, falling in consecutive district tournament games first to Soda Springs 48-39 and then to West Side in a tight one 51-47, with both games being played at home.
Having not been able to take advantage of the opportunity associated with hosting district tournament play, the Dragons will look to earn themselves a second chance at things this time around.
Leading the way for Head Coach Sheldon Vaughan’s team will be Carson Hoskins and Dylan Thorpe.
A couple of key newcomers that Vaughan mentioned are Garrett Larsen and Braxton Clark.
The continuity in the system gives Malad hope that this will be the year they break back into the state tournament discussion.
“These kids have been in the same system for four years and have improved every year,” said Vaughan.
Soda Springs and West Side look to again be the primary competition in the 2A Southeast Idaho Conference for the Dragons, while Bear Lake, a strong basketball program, drops down for this season from 3A.
Overall, it should create one of the more competitive conferences in the state, something that will give whoever emerges as the champion plenty of experience finding ways to win hard-fought games.
Things look to stay much the same as last year style-wise for Malad with so much returning talent.
“We are a set offense and [utilize] a matchup zone on defense,” said Vaughan.
With the strong chemistry existing on the team due to having played together for so long, the Dragons look to be even more dangerous on the offensive side of things, with their smart defense forcing turnovers on the other end.
Residing in such a challenging conference will make it a difficult road for Malad to get back to the state tournament, however the Dragons are well-stocked to make a good effort at doing just that.