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Lady Buffs runner up in Christmas Tourney

by: Photo By Christina M. Crockett - Susan Ahern, 35, is fouled by an Astoria opponent as she attempts to make a shot last Friday night during the Buffs' 63-34 victory in the Christmas tournament. Madras slipped to No. 1 Burns on Saturday afternoon to place second in the tournament.

After rolling past Astoria, 63-34, the Lady White Buffalos struggled against No. 1-Burns and couldn't match the Hilanders as they defeated Madras 69-38. While Madras had a solid game against Astoria, playing the entire bench and allowing the starting lineup ample rest, the Lady Buffs played a lethargic game against Burns in the championship game at the Christmas tournament last weekend in Madras.
   "I thought with all the rest we had, we'd do a much better job of playing with high energy," said Madras head coach Bruce Reece. "We didn't attack the basket like we were asked to do."
   While Madras came out matching Burns point for point in the first quarter, the Hilanders took a 32-23 halftime lead.
   The Lady Buffs stayed with Burns in the first quarter and stole back the lead when Susan Ahern, who tallied eight points in the game, hit a three-pointer to make it 10-8. However, Burns was quick to answer back, overthrowing Madras for a 16-13 lead after the opening quarter.
   In the second, Madras attempted to stay with the Hilanders, but began to slip, as Burns picked up momentum and took off with the lead.
   The Lady Buffs fell apart in the third quarter as Burns outscored Madras, 24-6. The Buffs had trouble controlling the ball and couldn't manage to find one another open to make successful passes.
   "They (Burns) shot great and we passed into their hands way too many times," said Reece. "We've got to do a better job of finding people when they are open."
   Playing the No. 1 team, Madras couldn't afford to make such mistakes, as Burns took advantage, out-rebounding the Buffs and finding the net to go on the third quarter scoring spree.
   During the second half, Madras failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities, missing shots on multiple chances and seemed lethargic during the afternoon game.
   Burns was relentless defensively and was quick with the ball. Leading scorer Katie Toreland led the Hilanders with a whopping 26 points and proved tough to handle for Madras.
   "We knew she was going to be a good player," said Reece of Toreland. "We just didn't stay with her. She's real quick inside and she played well on the outside too."
   While Coach Reece was confident the Lady Buffs could handle the No. 1 team, as Madras had the advantage of a three-game winning streak on the team in 2003, the Hilanders came ready to play and stayed focused throughout the tournament, after defeating Tillamook, the No. 2 team, in a close game on Friday, 45-42.
   Leading the Madras effort on Saturday afternoon, were Briana Stacona with 13 points, followed by senior Jaylyn Suppah. Raylene Thomas and Trina Olson each added three points, while freshman Katie Haugen had two.
   Taking second in the Christmas tournament, Madras may have went away disappointed with the loss, but they have future opportunities to avenge themselves against Burns, as they will face the Hilanders two more times this season.
   "We have a lot of work defensively," noted Reece, who looks forward to meeting up with Burns again. "You can't run away from the best team in the state."
   Downing Astoria
   It was a different story for the Lady White Buffalos on Friday night against Astoria, as Madras was on a roll against the Lady Fishermen.
   Stacona lit up the boards for Madras, while teammates Suppah and Thomas followed suit with a series of baskets early in the first period to establish the lead.
   In the last seconds of the game, the Madras defense was on top of it, as Ahern grabbed a defensive rebound to drive down court for a lay up, making it 21-9 after the first quarter.
   By halftime, Madras was playing the entire bench, giving everybody a much needed rest.
   "We needed to rest. That was huge for our starters to get a break like that," noted Reece.
   After taking a big 41-19 halftime advantage over Astoria, Madras went on to open the second half with a 13-0 run, hitting the basket and giving the Lady Fishermen something to work for -- which is what they did.
   "I was impressed with Astoria's tenacity. We pressed them hard," said Reece. "For the most part, I was very pleased (with Madras)."
   Despite Astoria's effort to fend off the White Buffalos, Madras kept finding the net. During the third, Leann Wolfe hit a three-pointer, when Ahern came back just seconds later to hit another field goal to make it 56-21 at the end of the third.
   In the final quarter, Madras went the majority of the period without scoring, as Astoria attempted a comeback by outscoring the Lady Buffs 14-7. However, with over a 30-point lead, the effort was too little too late.
   Playing the entire bench was a huge advantage for Madras, as everyone was able to find the basket to score on Friday night.
   "We were rooting for all of us to score and that was huge for us," said Reece.
   Suppah lead the Lady Buffs with 13 points, followed by Ahern, who tallied 10. Stacona and Thomas each put up eight, while Olson and Wolfe added five. Katie Wunsch, Haugen and Alyssa Selam each added four while Sierra Ferguson put up two for Madras.
   Slipping to The Dalles
   Despite playing an even game throughout, The Dalles caught Madras at the very end for a 46-44 win last Tuesday in the Buffalo Dome.
   After Stacona made a shot at the buzzer to leave Madras with a 21-20 halftime lead, The Dalles answered back in the second half by managing to outscore the Lady Buffs 26-23.
   Madras had a chance to win the game on a final shot at the buzzer in the fourth, but didn't make it.
   Stacona played a strong game on Tuesday night, recording 12 points to lead Madras, while adding eight assists and five steals. Suppah had five points for the Lady Buffs, while Wunsch and Ferguson each contributed four points.
   On Tuesday, Madras played host to Sisters. However, results were not available at press time. This Friday, Dec. 17, the Lady Buffs will head to Molalla before facing No. 1 Burns again next Tuesday, Dec. 21, in Burns.