The Lady White Buffalos are even in Tri-Valley League play with a 1-1 record, after downing visiting Valley Catholic last Friday 45-41. The win came after the Buffs dropped their TVL opener against host Sherwood last Tuesday, when they were short-handed.
During Friday's game, Madras came out and grabbed an early lead, which they never lost throughout the game.
In the first half, the Lady Buffs did a solid job of pressing the Valiants and getting good looks at the basket to build a 29-20 halftime lead.
However, in the second half, the Valiants started returning that pressure, causing Madras to throw up empty shots and fight for control of the ball.
"The third quarter was absolutely ugly," said Madras head coach Bruce Reece, "But I thought the first half we really did well."
In the third, Madras started passing into Valley Catholic's hands, forcing passes and spent the majority of the quarter trying to score, which finally came when Susan Ahern, who scored nine points, made a foul shot, followed by another foul shot by Briana Stacona, who led the White Buffalos with 13 points. Madras was ahead 31-28 going into the fourth after only scoring four in the third.
Madras wasn't so impressive from the line, either, as the Buffs shot seven-of-18.
"They (the Buffs) need to shoot better from the line, and there's no excuse for that," said Reece.
Despite poor free throw line shooting, Madras was able to keep it together and started finding an open basket in the fourth.
Freshman Krista Haugen, who scored four points for the game, put up two in the opening moments of the game, followed by an offensive rebound shot by Jaylyn Suppah, who dropped in eight points.
Stacona found the basket shortly after on an assist by Shirelle Adams, a sophomore who saw some solid varsity playing time, and received high praise, along with Haugen.
"We've been waiting and biding our time to bring her into the game," noted Reece of Adams. "She caused two key turnovers in the second quarter, and then she comes back in the fourth and does the same thing. She did a tremendous job."
Reece also praised Haugen for getting herself into position to execute key plays.
With the effective aid of players like Adams and Haugen, Coach Reece noted he was able to substitute them in when the Lady Buffs needed the extra help.
"I was finally able to take people out who were making mistakes and I've never been able to do that. That's the difference," said Reece.
For the game, Wunsch scored four points, followed by Raylene Thomas, Trina Olson and Adams, who each added two.
Slipping to Sherwood
With the loss of two starters, Madras played tough against No. 1 seed Sherwood, but couldn't hold off the Lady Bowmen as they came out and pressed the Buffs from start to finish.
"We took care of the ball poorly and we need to improve our passing," noted Reece.
Madras played in the absence of starters Thomas, who had a death in the family, and Sierra Ferguson, who was competing in a national track and field invitational in Hawaii.
However, Coach Reece praised freshman Haugen, who stepped up to fill the hole in the starting lineup.
"Krista Haugen started and played almost the whole game (against Sherwood). She just did a great job," said Reece. "It's a good thing she's a freshman because she can only improve and that's the best part."
For the game, Haugen had two points, but was instrumental in the Buffs' hard-fought attempt to catch Sherwood, who led 34-21 at halftime, only to extend it into the second half to come out with a 47-30 win.
For Madras, Stacona led with 10 points, while Suppah followed with eight.
Ahern scored six points and Wunsch had three.
Madras played against host Gladstone yesterday. However, results were not available at press time.
On Friday, the Lady White Buffalos will play host to La Salle, who defeated Madras 57-46 at the Sisters Holiday Invitational two weeks ago.