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Madras is girls basketball champs

Burns beaten 40-26 in title tilt

by: Photo By Brian Liebenstein - Madras High's girls celebrate their Oregon 3A state championship. Behind Tosha Wilson and Jare Retherford are (left to right) Raylene Thomas, Whitney Sisk, Tara Prow, Kristina Roofener, Elise Hawes, Rylee Sweeney, Maurica Cortez, Susan Ahern, Christina Barnes and Jaylyn Suppah.


Sports Editor
   
   They did it.
   A generation after winning the 1977 2A state championship, Madras High's White Buffalos have added a second Oregon girls basketball state championship, this at the 3A level.
   In their third game against Burns this season, the White Buffalos stampeded past the Highlanders 40-26 Saturday night at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
   Saturday's U.S. Bank - Les Schwab Tires Oregon School Activities Association 3A state championship game capped a four-game run for the Buffs.
   Jar‚ Retherford used a pair of three-point field goals in the first half to help ignite Madras. She led the Buffs with 13 points, including three of the three-point shots, against Burns. Balanced support from Tara Prow, with 10, Elise Hawes, with eight, and Tosha Wilson, with six, were among multiple keys to the Buffs beating Burns.
   "Getting a quick start with pressure and taking open shots if we got them early was part of the game plan," said Mike Osborne, the Madras coach. He has now taken second, eighth and first in his three state tourneys in just three years as varsity coach.
   "We knew they were in a zone (defense) and we tried to attack it," Osborne added.
   "This is really great. It took a lot of hard work and the girls came up with a great effort," he said.
   Madras won without having the game's top scorer, an honor captured by Burns' Chelsea Ross, with 14 points.
   The championship was the culmination of a long process for many of the Madras girls.
   Senior Tosha Wilson said, "We're the number one team in the state. It took a lot of sacrifice to make this happen." She was later overheard telling teamnmates she had dreamed of a championship back in third grade.
   Saturday's win was real.
   Just like a non-league win in December had been, when Madras beat Burns 34-26 at Madras. Less than a week later Burns won 49-45 in overtime, at Burns. Its loss at Burns was one of only four the Buffs suffered all season. A tough schedule had Madras comfortable at Corvallis. Each team that beat Madras (Redmond of the 4A, Burns, North Marion and La Salle were the only ones) also played in a state tournament.
   But Saturday belonged to Madras.
   Seniors Wilson and Retherford closed their Madras careers with strong contributions throughout the tournament, but especially against Burns.
   Hawes, a junior, impressed enough of the other coaches in the event to join Wilson, the Tri-Valley League's Player of the Year, on the all-tournament second team.
   None of the champions were listed on the all-tourney top five vote getters but team effort won them all gold medals.
   Madras never trailed in the title game. Taking an 8-0 lead in the first four minutes made that possible after the Buffs were forced to come from behind by La Grande, Pleasant Hill and Tillamook on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
   Prow made one of two free throws she was awarded after being fouled while in the opening moments Saturday. The point put Madras ahead to stay. A Wilson pass had found Prow in good position for a drive to the basket that made Burns foul.
   A jump shot by Hawes from about 10 feet to the side of the basket boosted Madras further ahead. Another dash to the basket by Prow let Madras lead 5-0 before pressure by the Buff defense got the ball back for a sequence Retherford capped with her first of two three-point field goals.
   That 8-0 difference in turn inspired Burns to call its first time out. The scoring pace slowed. Tight defense caused turnovers by both teams to limit scoring in the middle of the game.
   Its efforts to catch up brought Burns back to within 12-9 in the second quarter. A shorter outburst capped by another three-point basket by Retherford helped the Buffs secure an 18-12 halftime advantage. Burns never drew closer again.
   "We were just passing the ball around quick looking for chances and there were some openings," Retherford said of making most the shots she took in the first two quarters.
   Dishing off and slowing Burns' attack defensively proved just as gratifying as scoring for Wilson. Assigned to the high scorer for Burns, in Ross, Wilson kept her to only about half of her average.
   Still, Wilson got so excited when she sank a three-point shot early in the third quarter that she pumped her fist and motioned for the Madras backers to make noise.
   Scoring picked up for a time after Wilson upped the Buffs' lead to 21-12. Burns scored a basket after the one by Wilson and two more after Retherford hit her third three. But with Burns trailing 24-18, the Buffs inched away with free throws sandwiched around misses by Burns at the foul line.
   Wilson made the first of Madras free throws in the sequence when she was fouled while shooting with less than one minute left in the third quarter.
   While the Madras lead stood at 25-18 to start the fourth, Hawes upped the lead to 27-19 with a free throw when the clock read 5:31.
   Wilson kept finding other teammates. One was Jaylyn Suppah, who converted a pass making Madras's lead 29-19 with 4:25 left before Prow free throws upped the difference to 12.
   Burns called time out with 3:47 left to set up a play on which Maria Clemens drew a foul from Wilson, her fourth. Clemens finished the game with eight points for Burns.
   After a short rest, though, Wilson returned and helped handle the ball effectively as Madras ran time off the clock to close in on its ultimate goal.
   Prow snatched an important offensive rebound with 2:41 on the clock that let Madras further frustrate Burns in its bid to rally late. Burns hit a three-point basket with more than two minutes still left, but only after Wilson had scored for the Buffs.
   Considering Western Baptist College as a potential school to attend next year, Wilson had cut inside and turned a feed from Hawes into a Madras basket good for a 34-20 lead.
   Fittingly, the main instigators of the title run -- Retherford, Wilson and Hawes -- each sank a pair of free throws in the final minute to push Madras to 40 and render moot the three-point field goals by Ross.
   While the scoring dropped off behind Retherford, Prow, Hawes and Wilson, every Buff got in for at least some action.
   Timely contributions from Rylee Sweeney and Jaylyn Suppah in snagging rebounds and stopping some of Burns' scorers were only one example of the help the Buffs' top scorers had. A basket by Suppah was the lone scoring addition to the noted quartet, but that basket broke one of Burns' rare strings of consecutive scores.
   Also taking part in the final game for Madras were Christina Barnes, Rylee Sweeney, Maurica Cortez, Susan Ahern, Kristina Roofener and Raylene Thomas. Whitney Sisk had gotten in a game earlier to help Madras too.
   Madras is going to celebrate its championship and season with a banquet of some kind after spring break, noted Osborne.