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Pichette, Stacona named all-state

Jered PichetteMariah StaconaSurprises come in many different forms, but the ones that Jered Pichette and Mariah Stacona got last week were some of the best.

The Madras juniors were named to the Oregonian's Class 4A all-state basketball teams, Pichette on the boys first team and Stacona to the girls second team.

"It's a pretty good honor," Pichette said. "I feel pretty good about it."

Pichette was a scoring machine this past season for the White Buffalos. He averaged 22.3 points a game, which led the team, and also topped the team in assists, steals and minutes played.

Pichette, the Tri-Valley Conference Player of the Year, scored in double figures in 21 of the 23 games he played, scored 20 or more points 12 times and hit the 30 mark on four occasions. He ended the season shooting 44 percent from the field and 71 from the free throw line.

Madras coach Allen Hair was a bit surprised at the selection, not because he didn’t think Pichette deserved it, but because of the nature of the selection process.

“When you get to all-state selections, usually they come from teams that made the state tournament,” Hair said. “So, I’m a little surprised, but not surprised because he had a phenomenal year. Without him, I don’t think we win a single game.”

The Buffs ended the year at 10-14 and failed to make the playoffs.

But with the accolades comes responsibility. Hair said Pichette will now have a lot of pressure to help the Buffs improve.

“I told him that there are a lot of expectations now,” Hair said. “There’s going to be a bigger target (on his back), teams are going to try and shut him down. I’m thrilled for him, I think it’s well deserved and the nice part is he gets to come back and try to defend it."

Pichette said he is ready to take his game to the next level and do whatever it takes to help his team win.

"If the awards come, that's great," Pichette said. "But we're trying to win a state title."

While Pichette has known about his selection for a week, Stacona was completely caught off guard by her selection.

"One of the fans came up to me (on Sunday) and said congratulations and I didn't know what he was talking about until he told me," Stacona said. "I had no clue. But I was grateful to see the hard work pay off. I definitely couldn't have done it without the team."

Stacona ended her junior year averaging 16.3 points a game as the Buffs advanced to the second round of the state tournament. With four rebounds, six assists and six steals an outing, her selection was a no-brainer, co-coach Zach Lillebo said.

"When you put up those kinds of numbers, it's well-deserving," Lillebo said. "She's one of the toughest kids I know, one of the hardest working kids I know. She definitely will be able to handle it."

Stacona scored in double figures in 20 of the Buffs' 26 games, hitting the 20-point mark nine times. She had a season high 28 points and scored in every game she played in.

A fixture on the court since her freshman year, Stacona said she is used to drawing attention during games and being named all-state won't do anything to change that. She said she is ready for the challenge of improving her game and her team's chances of advancing farther next season.




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