>First TVL title under Osborne earns basketball Buffs a rest

Sports Editor
   Sports Editor
   Having had nearly two weeks of practice from its last game until its first game in the Oregon 3A girls basketball state tournament is a new experience for Madras High head coach Mike Osborne and his team.
   "We'll find out when we play," Osborne said is answering whether he had an opinion on whether a week with no game would prove of any advantage for Madras.
   Sixth-ranked in the final poll of the season, Madras High is opening the 2003 U.S. Bank - Les Schwab Tires Oregon School Activities Association Oregon 3A girls basketball state tournament Wednesday, at 1 p.m. In the March 12 game the White Buffalos battle fifth-ranked La Grande, the second seed out of the Greater Oregon League, which also had the second-ranked Ontario team as a member.
   Though part of the same Redmond Holiday tournament as La Grande, Madras never played La Grande. He expected a good test, Osborne said last week, regardless of who the Buffs were going to play.
   Madras earned its ticket to the state tournament plus a 13-day rest by winning the Tri-Valley district championship. It clinched the title in a 52-32 Feb. 25 win at The Dalles but needed overtime to claim a two-point win at Gladstone two days later.
   Junior post Elise Hawes and senior guards Jar‚ Retherford and Tosha Wilson paced Madras at Gladstone. Retherford and Hawes scored 19 points each. Wilson added 16.
   Wilson was voted the Tri-Valley League's Player of the Year to go with the Coach of the Year honor garnered by Osborne.
   Hawes was picked among the league's top players by enough coaches to join Wilson on the first team.
   Retherford was right behind. The senior, also an all-league performer in volleyball, earned second-team status when the all-league basketball votes were compiled.
   Rylee Sweeney, a junior post for Madras also made an impact in the all-league voting. She earned enough for honorable menttion listing.
   Having to work hard to win its final game was good for Madras, from Osborne's standpoint, he said. An easy win might have left the girls complacent, Osborne added.
   Starting intense and staying intense is a virtual necessity for Madras against La Grande, said Osborne, in analyzing its Wednesday encounter.
   The team was heading for Corvallis late Monday, Osborne said. He wanted the girls rested and ready to watch the Tuesday games in the tournament, so they know something about teams from that group. If it is around to play a game on Friday and wins, Madras will be playing one of the teams it can watch Tuesday.
   With assistants Matt Rama and Becky Osborne leading the way, the Madras girls staged a clinic for the younger girls of the community on Saturday. Elementary and middle school girls were shown what they can expect in the way of teaching and drills once they get to the high school level.
   The high school players appeared confident their coaches have provided the tools needed to win.
   "we'll be ready," noted Retherford.
   He hoped to incorporate one or two concepts or plays that were new to the girls in practice last week, explained Osborne.
   They picked up on everything quickly enough to practice it in deep focuas besides a light workout.
   During the last few days before the state tournament, though, said Osborne, he'd proably introduce the girls of Madras to at least some plays or patterns that the coaching staff felt La Grande was likely to show, he said. Osborne said he sensed La Grande's patterns won't be a lot different from what the team displayed as its mode of operation at the tourney in Redmond between Christmas and New Year's.
   When they face teams which play anything like they do, said Osborne, the Buffs will need to remember to keep attacking instead of just accepting an exchange of points.
   He further hinted the team would be in as good condition as it has been nearly all winter. A cough he was exhibiing in a practice session leading to the tourney would not sideline osborne he indicated.
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