Missed free throws sink Madras bid for league lead at Valley Catholic

Boys still in midst of playoff battle

   Free throws sank Madras Friday at Valley Catholic in its latest high school boys basketball Tri-Valley League game.
   More precisely, its missed free throws coupled with Valley Catholic having eight more chances and making 14 more points from the charity stripe doomed the White Buffalos to defeat.
   Valley Catholic's 58-53 win in the game catapulted the Valiants into first in the league standings, at 5-1, while sliding Madras into third, at 4-2. Having won at Sherwood on Friday, La Salle was 4-1. La Salle lost at Madras, but won at Valley Catholic.
   Its three of 13 shooting from the free throw line reduced Madras' season-long percentage from the stripe. It had been making 70 percent of its free throws before slipping.
   "If we make 70 percent, we win. That was how even the rest of the game was," said Evan Brown, Head Coach at Madras.
   Valley Catholic was not called for enough fouls to give Madras one-and-one chances in either half. Madras would have been won had it made even seven (only 54 percent) of its 13 free throws.
   Valley Catholic's one significant statistical advantage in the game was going 17 of 21 in free throw shooting. Madras made 58 percent of its field goals while holding Valley Catholic to 53 percent. The Valiants made 12 turnovers to 11 for Madras while Madras was outrebounded 23-22.
   Limiting Valley Catholic's 6-foot-6 Joel Van Domelen was called the biggest challenge for Madras before the game began. That proved the case. A senior, Van Domelen helped build an 8-2 Valley Catholic lead with baskets in the second and third minutes on his way to 23 points.
   Sophomore Dominique Easterling scored Madras' first basket less than 20 second after Kyle Efstathiou put Valley Catholic ahead first. But the 2-2 score was short-lived. A run finished by Van Domelen gave the Valiants an 8-2 lead they surrendered just once, in the second quarter.
   The Buffs were tied five times, last knotting the score at 51, with 3:13 left to play.
   Easterling led Madras with 15 points. Jacoby Ellsbury was next for Madras, with 13. Joey McConnell and Isiah Tewee added six each for Madras.
   Coming back from a serious nerve injury in the first game of football season, senior Colter Barnes returned for a limited time, scoring four at Valley Catholic.
   Tim Kirsch and Joey Adams had two each for Madras Friday but Adams was forced to the bench for part of the game as he was judged to make two fouls in the first quarter.
   Valley Catholic's balance included two other scorers in double figures. Aaron Sugiyama had 12 and Brad Gram 11.