Balanced Buffs bag bronze
- Billy Gates
- Madras Pioneer - Sports
The Madras boys basketball team finished third at the Stayton Holiday Classic, which concluded Saturday night at Stayton High School.
>Madras clobbers Hidden Valley at tourney
The White Buffalos knocked off Tillamook, 47-33, to open play Thursday, but fell to the reigning Class 4A champion Central Panthers in the semifinals, 62-47, on Friday.
The Buffs ended the tournament taking a bit of the frustration from the previous night's loss on Hidden Valley, clobbering the Mustangs, 61-34, Saturday to finish with the bronze.
"We played some pretty good basketball there," Madras head coach Allen Hair said. "We struggled early against Tillamook, but we were able to wear them down in the second half and pull away."
With two nonconference games left before the Tri-Valley Conference docket begins, Hair said his team needs to get better defensively, but is elated by the way they can score.
"We've had every starter go for 20 points on a night so far," he said. "We are able to balance the scoring load so teams can't prepare for just one guy; they have to account for all of us or someone will have a huge night."
Hidden Valley 34
The balanced scoring attack that Hair thinks is his team's best strength took center stage in the blowout win against the Mustangs in the third-place game.
Devin Wolfe and Jered Pichette each scored 10 points to lead the Buffs, but the next four top scorers nearly put up double figures as well.
Rodney Mitchell contributed nine points, including a couple 3-point buckets, while Aaron Phillips and Jhaylen Yeahquo each chipped in eight. Steele Haugen scored seven points for the Buffs as well.
Madras raced out to an 18-8 lead after the first period, but really put the pedal to the metal coming out of the halftime break. The Buffs posted 24 points in the frame, while they limited the Mustangs to 10 to take complete control.
"We did a lot of good things defensively against Hidden Valley," Hair said. "We talked about getting back to the fundamentals in the locker room before the game, and we were able to do that."
In order for the Buffs to have success, Hair said, they have to get steals and turnovers with tough perimeter defense.
"We were able to finish those opportunities," Hair said. "Getting turnovers and running the floor is what we want to do, but we have to be able to finish them. We did that."
The back-door offense of the Panthers worked to near-perfection against the aggressive defense of the Buffs as the 2012 state champs ran away with the victory in the semifinals Friday.
Central, of Independence, shot nearly 60 percent from the field, and Hair said it was due to easy buckets they got when the Buffs overplayed the wings defensively.
"We just didn't play very fundamentally sound defense," he said. "Central does a great job at executing that offense, and their point guard (Chan Bal) is probably the best in 4A."
Bal led the Panthers with 19 points and 11 assists, giving more validity to the claim he's the best at the 4A level.
Madras had chances to cut the deficit to a single possession, but the Buffs missed some wide-open 3-pointers that could have turned the tide, Hair said.
"We had our chances," he said.
Pichette led the way with nine points, while Haugen scored eight for the Buffs.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Buffs.
As far as Hair is concerned, the first game of any tournament is always the toughest. Thursday's tilt with the Cheesemakers wasn't an exception to the his rule, either.
After somewhat of a sluggish start, the Buffs were able to counter the Cheesemakers' physicality with what they do best - transition offense.
"We were able to wear them down in the second half," Hair said. "We struggled early, but we were able to get things going in the right direction."
Pichette led the Buffs with nine points, and Mitchell pitched in eight to lead the way."
The Buffs will hit the road for Turner on Friday to play Cascade, then finish up the nonconference schedule a little closer to home at La Pine on Jan. 8.