Middleton High School
Conference: 4A Southern Idaho Conference
Head Coach: Andy Jones
Years as Head Coach: 14th season
State Titles: 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012
Written by: Chris Langrill
You don't really need a huge dictionary to describe the Middleton girls basketball team this season.
You really only need three letters: N and E and W.
Everything is new for the Vikings as they enter this season.
If you're a Middleton fan looking for familiarity on the court this season, look for jersey No. 25.
That uniform is worn by Kristine Lawson, the team's senior shooting guard. She is the team's one quantity.
Otherwise, get out your programs and start learning about the Vikings.
Because even coach Andy Jones is learning about this year's team on the fly.
“I have no idea (what to expect),” said Jones, a veteran of 14 seasons. “We've got some transfers in and we're just learning to play together.”
Jones does know this: He lost a key player when D'Rae Tullock graduated. The four-year starter was a rock for the Vikings at center, and she led Middleton to championships in 2011 and 2012. The four-year letter-winner has moved on, though, and now plays for Louisiana-Lafayette.
Needless to say, Jones will miss Tullock, who was a First Team, All-State selection during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
As a result, the Vikings will look like a different team this season as compared to the past few years, when Tullock was a rock in the post. As a senior, Tullock averaged 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds.
“We're going to run more of a passing game and less of a post-up game,” Jones said. “Losing D'Rae … we dont' have that anymore, so we're going to do a lot more passing and have more of a motion-based offense.”
Defensively, Jones is prepared to see how his team responds in the early going.
“I don't know,” he said. “We'll see. If we can keep up with other teams' backcourts, we'll try that and press. But if we can't, we'll just hunker down. We'll try (pressing) early on and see how it goes.”
Bottom line: Jones is going to see how his new players respond and adjust.
“We're going to feel our way,” he said. “The nice thing is the conference season doesn't start until January, so we can spend the rest of 2014 finding our identity and finding our way.”
Still, the conference season is sneaking up on every team in the 4A Southern Idaho Conference.
“By then,” Jones said, “hopefully we'll be ready to go.”