most of the contest, Crook County played Tuesday night's season opener as if it was a home game.
   The Cowboys outscored the White Buffaloes 19-11 in the first quarter at Madras and racked up double-digit leads as early as the second quarter.
   The White Buffaloes waited patiently, though, and used a solid free-throw performance down the stretch to send the game into overtime.
   Madras senior Jacoby Ellsbury went eight for eight at the free-throw line in the final quarter and rallied his troops to a 76-74 barn-burning victory in the opener for both teams.
   Ellsbury ended the night with a game-high 28 points.
   In recent years, this matchup has proven to be a good one. Last season's game was even closer, when the White Buffaloes topped Crooked County 69-68 in Prineville.
   "I think Madras has the uncanny ability of just never letting up," said CCHS head coach Dave Davies. "They just play consistently at the same speed. Nothing seems to phase them."
   The Cowboys found success shooting from all angles Tuesday, registering around 50 percent from both two-point range and behind the arc. Crook County finished the contest with nine of 18 in three-point percentage and 20 of 42 from the field.
   Leading the Cowboys was junior forward/guard Jacob Martin, who finished the night with 26 points, including two long balls. Martin found success on defense too, matching teammate Jeff Carver with four steals. Carver also came through with seven assists.
   Senior Trevor Abell led Crook County in three-pointers, sending off four that counted.
   Coach Davies said he was pleased with his team's ability to shoot the three, but added that he would like to see his team improve on shot selection.
   "I am happy with the ones that we had wide-open looks with because I know we're going to knock those down," he said. "It's the one's that we take with guys flying at us that I'm not pleased with, so the next few games we're going to try and work on waiting for the more open look rather than the first shot."
   The Cowboys took a five-point lead into the locker room at halftime, but the White Buffaloes came back to outscore Crook County 17-13 in the final quarter to force OT.
   In a pretty even final stanza, the Cowboys had possession with seconds remaining and down by two. Last-minute efforts by Abell and Nick Irwin didn't pay off for Crook County with time expiring.
   Irwin finished the night with 14 points, while Gene Hensley added nine.
   Alex Hartman, a Central Catholic transfer who had just one Crook County practice under his belt before the contest, came away with five points, including a three-pointer he nailed from the corner.
   The Cowboys head to Silverton Friday for a 7:15 p.m. non-league contest. The home opener is slated Saturday, Dec. 8 in a 2:45 p.m. matchup against Barlow.
   "I think I learned that we could keep the intensity up and that we could sustain it for for 32 minutes. We have the speed and quickness to do it," Davies said about the CC/Madras contest.
    "I think the negative thing we learned was just our poise. We need to work on keeping our composure when we have leads, executing our stuff to not take the quick shot, but milk the clock and secure the victory."
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