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Madras uses late surge to top Cowgirls
The Crook County girls basketball team took the driver's seat early in a non-league matchup against Madras in Prineville Tuesday.
   The Cowgirls came out with near-perfect defense and a slew of offense to generate a 17-9 lead after the first quarter in the season opener for both teams.
   The White Buffaloes woke up in the second half, though, and used a 22-point performance in the final stanza to claim the 48-31 victory.
   Senior wing Nicole Main secured a game-high 14 points for Madras, while sophomore Elise Hawes added 11.
   The first half was mostly Crook County.
   The Cowgirls tallied six unanswered points to end the first quarter, coming by way of four from junior Nicole Evans and two from junior Megan Rodgers.
   Evans finished the night connecting for seven points, all of which came in the opening quarter, while senior Cassie Pruett turned in all eight of her team-high points in the first half. Junior MaryKate McCarthy finished the contest with seven. Evans, along with junior Cheyenne Ditmore, led the team in rebounds with five apiece.
   "I was very pleased because I think we were moving the ball very well and Madras did not play against us man to man very well," said CCHS head coach Cheri Rasmussen of her team's play out of the gate.
   Rasmussen added that the White Buffaloes changed to a zone defense in the second quarter, which the Cowgirls had difficulty adjusting to.
   After Crook County's 17 first-quarter points, the Cowgirls combined for just 14 in the final three.
   "They switched defenses and we play much better against a man to man because that's primarily what we play, so we're going to be zeroing in on working on our zone offense," Rasmusessen said.
   Crook County was in the ball game all the way until about the final three minutes, when the White buffaloes started to pull away for good.
   "They just picked it up and we didn't play the rest of the game the way we played in the first quarter," Pruett said.
   Last year's matchup wasn't as close, when Madras finished with the 65-38 win. In that season, the White Buffaloes came one game from winning the Class 3A championship.
   "I was very pleased that we stayed in the gym with Madras, especially because they were the runners up in the state tournament and they haven't lost anyone significant. I expect them to make a run at it again this year," Rasmussen said. "They're a good ball club, so I was very pleased."
   Next up for Crook County is the Sheldon Tournament this weekend.
   The Cowgirls face Sheldon Friday afternoon in the first round.
   "I want us to be able to play a complete game," Rasmussen said.
    "Hopefully in the next game, we'll play all four quarters the we played tonight in the first," Pruett said.