ot;Defense wins games" is the chant by the Burns girls' basketball players as they break a huddle.
Unfortunately for the other teams in the Madras Holiday Tournament, the Highlanders believed their chant. Burns allowed just 41 points in two games of the Friday and Saturday tourney.
The Highlanders defeated Madras 53-23 in the championship game. Both teams dominated Friday's openers to set up a game between a 5A team seeking a state playoff spot and a 4A team looking for its third state title in four years.
Madras continues its nonleague schedule by traveling to Roosevelt on Friday and hosting Madison on Tuesday. The Buffs hosted Sisters on Tuesday, Dec. 12 (after press time).
Burns 53, Madras 23: Early on, the Buffs' outside shots were falling.
Briana Stacona drained a trio of 3-pointers and a pair of free throws after a drive to the basket. She also fed Krista Haugen for a layup. Shirelle Adams followed with a rebound basket for a 15-14 lead two minutes into the second quarter.
It didn't last as Burns scored the final 12 points of the half, all on baskets within 10 feet for a 26-15 halftime lead.
Madras was unable to counter, committing 12 turnovers in the quarter.
"We stopped looking inside and instead settled for 3-pointers," Madras coach Becky Burchell said. "We weren't getting open inside. If we did pass the ball inside, Burns stole it."
The Buffs had 12 turnovers in the second quarter and six more in the third quarter. Madras had just one assist for the game.
"We'll need to do a better job of getting open inside and reading the defense," Burchell said. "This is what preseason games are for, to learn what we're good at and what we need to work on."
Stacona finished with 11 points and five steals.
Jessica Clemens, headed to the University of Portland next season, scored 18.
Stacona and Clemens were part of the all-tournament team. Haugen, Monique Bentz of Burns and Jamie Coggins of Astoria were also all-tourney members.
Madras 69, Eagle Point 40: The plan was to give visitors a hard time in the Buffs' first home game this season.
"We wanted to flustrate them," Stacona said. "We kept changing things up so they would become frustrated."
It certainly worked as the Eagles had 15 turnovers and just six shots in the first quarter.
Madras had plenty of shots as six players scored in building up an 18-5 lead.
It ranged from a pair of rebound baskets by Krista Haugen, drives to the basket by Stacona, Shirelle Adams and Jaycelene Frank plus a trey by Chrishana Johnson.
"That's just what we wanted to do, to spread out the shots," Burchell said. "Our 3-pointers weren't falling, but we were able to get open shots."
One trey did fall to close out the first half. Stacona drained a 21-footer for a 38-15 lead.
"I knew the time situation," Stacona said. "Instead of going to the basket, I kept the ball out and made sure we had a final shot."
It was part of 13 points for Stacona, to go along with four steals. Krista Haugen had 13 points and 11 rebounds, part of the team's 37.
Five Buffs scored eight or more points with Sharice Johnson scoring 10, Shirelle Adams nine and Chrishana Johnson eight.