Madras wins Seaside Holiday Classic

by: Photo By Jeff Ter Har/Daily Astorian - The Madras boys basketball team poses with the tournament bracket after winning the championship at the Seaside Holiday Classic tournament Saturday at Seaside High School. The eight-team, three-day tournament ended with the White Buffalos beating the Seaside Seagulls, 54-47. Rodney Mitchell was named the tournament’s most valuable player and to the tournament’s all-star team. Jhaylen Yeahquo and Jered Pichette were also named to the tournament all-star team.

The Madras boys basketball team ran the table to win the Seaside Holiday Classic, which concluded with a 54-47 win against Seaside on Saturday night.
   The White Buffalos picked up an opening round win against Newport, 51-42, on Thursday, then needed some late-game heroics to claim a 50-47 semifinal win against the Astoria Fishermen to meet the host Seagulls in the final.
   "We grew up a little bit," Madras head coach Allen Hair said. "I knew we would go through some growing pains, but we hit some key shots in key spots, and that's a sign of a good team."
   The Buffs have been red-hot over the past seven games, chocking up six wins after starting the season 0-2.
   Seniors Jhaylen Yeahquo and Rodney Mitchell, along with sophomore point guard Jered Pichette, were named to the tournament's all-star team. Mitchell was named the tournament most valuable player after he averaged 13.6 points per game during the tournament.
   The Buffs won games in a variety of different ways. After not playing very well against Newport to open the tournament, they slugged out a win. The Buffs then had to rally from a deficit to beat Astoria, then built an early lead and hung on to beat Seaside in the final.
   Madras 54, Seaside 47
   The Buffs were able to fend off the Seagulls late by draining 11 of 14 foul shot attempts in the fourth period and capture the tournament championship.
   Yeahquo scored a team-high 17 points while Mitchell chipped in 10. Pichette contributed nine points while Devon Wolfe had six.
   In their losses, the Buffs haven't played defense well, but during the tournament, they stepped up their play on that end of the floor, something Hair is very excited to see.
   "Once we get things figured out defensively, our offense is going to come," he said. "We played some of the best defense against Seaside we have all year. We got our hands on the ball and our rotations were crisp."
   Madras led by 10 at halftime, 28-18, but the Gulls were able to chip away at the Buffs' lead, whittling it down to two points, but the Buffs' defense stood up and held them off.
   Madras didn't allow a Seaside player to score in double figures, other than game-high scorer Lucas Clark who scored 19 points for the Gulls.
   Seaside made more field goals than the Buffs, 18-16, but the Buffs won the free throw battle by a huge margin, sinking 19 of 24 foul shots to Seaside's 7 of 14 performance.
   Madras 50, Astoria 47
   The Buffs blew a 10-point lead in the third period, but the clutch shooting from Steele Haugen and Pichette bailed them out and they were able to advance to the title game after a 50-47 win Friday night against Astoria.
   Haugen buried a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left, then Pichette stepped to the foul line and connected on a pair to give the Buffs the victory.
   "I was proud of the guys," Hair said. "I thought we deserved to win that one."
   Madras couldn't put the ball in the bucket the last half of the third period, which opened the door for the Fishermen to come back and take a two-point lead.
   "It could have been easy for us to give up," Hair said. "But we did what we needed to do and got things done."
   Mitchell scored 17 points to lead the Buffs, while Pichette and Wolfe scored eight apiece.
   Madras 51, Newport 42
   Even though Hair called the team's play "lethargic" early on, the Buffs were able to recover and claim the first-round win, 51-42, Thursday night.
   Coming off a 69-55 loss to Bend on Tuesday, the way the team responded afrter the initial lull made Hair feel pretty good about the maturity of his team and how it's developing.
   Pichette scored 15 to lead the way, while Mitchell chipped in 14 and Yeahquo scored 12.
   The Buffs will hit the road Thursday for the Stayton Holiday Classic and will open play against Tillamook.
   Hair said he knows a little about the Cheesemakers, saying they have a good guard, post and a good tradition.
   "They go to the tournament pretty regularly," he said. "It will be another test for us to see where we are at."
   Currently, the Buffs are No. 7 in the Class 4A OSAA RPI, behind Tri-Valley Conference rival La Salle Prep.
   Tillamook, Madras' opponent Thursday, is 1-4 this season and sits at No. 26 in the RPI.
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