Madras meets Astoria juggernaut in tourney

Buffs comeback falls short

   Sports Editor
   Astoria High School held off a Madras rally which trimmed a 50-34 halftime difference to a 67-66 margin with nearly four minutes left in the game -- on a three-point field goal by Madras guard John Adams -- to claim the championship in the Bob McKenzie Memorial Tournament. Henley beat Sisters in the third-place game in the boys basketball tournament before the 77-69 Astoria win.
   Sisters -- minus some players taking part in the Oregon School Activities Association - U.S. Bank 3A state football tournament semi-finals -- lost to Madras in Friday's opening round after Astoria had disposed of Henley.
   Saturday's championship game featured strong shooting by Astoria in the first half before missed layups and turnovers induced by Madras pressure in the third quarter ate into the winners' advantage. Using balance and timely three-point field goals in the opening minutes, Astoria accelerated from a 9-8 lead into a 16-8 advantage with a run capped by one of the three-point shots, from Michael Salmi.
   A steal in the closing seconds by Jacoby Ellsbury let Madras make it 18-12 at the close of the first quarter, Astoria had an effective offense and defense working.
   Veteran coach Mike Goin had Astoria ranked in the state's top 5 coming into the game.
   "We went with our scramble offense most of the game. We spread them into a zone in the first half and shot well," Goin said of the makings of the 50-34 lead at intermission.
   A balanced Astoria attack in the championship game was led by senior guard Luke Roman, who finished with 23 points, which included a three-point field goal. Outside accuracy from Michael Salmi, who hit on four-of-six three-point shots, added 17 points for Astoria, which received another 16 from Zach Timmerman.
   Madras was led by all-tournament selection Jacoby Ellsbury, whose steals and drives Saturday propelled him to 27 points against Astoria after a foul-hampered outing Friday. Adams added 17 points to the Madras total Saturday, which was rounded out by 10 points from Dominique Easterling, six each from Jeff Barnes and Tim Kirsch, plus three from Joey McConnell. The 69 points were not enough, despite topping the Madras performance Friday.
   "We just told them to be more aggressive on offense and defense," Madras head coach Evan Brown said of the halftime discussion in the championship game not calling for much in the way of adjusting. Turning in some good rebounding and defense in the eight minutes of the third quarter let Madras outscore Astoria 21-9. But the rally fell victim to a sequence in which Astoria grabbed a rebound and raced downcourt and then sank a three-point field goal in two straight trips down the court after Adams' three-pointer.
   Madras used a lot of cutting to the basket to score layups in its Saturday comeback as Ellsbury had the only other successful attempt at a three-point field goal.
   A drive by Adams after a steal had earlier drawn Madras to within one basket late in the third quarter before his long shot cut the lead to one point.
   Easterling's presence in the paint, coupled with Barnes, beat the
   Holding Sisters to 11 points in the second half of their first round game let the White Buffalos pull away after being limited to a 21-18 halftime advantage.
   Madras will have gotten in a game against Summit High of Bend on Tuesday as a prelude to its trip to John Day to battle Grant Union on Friday. That Dec. 7 game will be Madras' last for eight days.