by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras point guard Mariah Stacona drives to the hoops past an Estacada defender during the Buffs' win against the Rangers. Four Madras players score in double figures

Coming off two tough games against the top teams in the Tri-Valley Conference, the Madras High School girls basketball team needed to get right.

The White Buffalos did that, and then some, in a 65-23 rout of Estacada on Feb. 4 in the Buffalo Dome.

It was a nice way to bounce back from consecutive losses to La Salle Prep and Gladstone, and it secured the Buffs third place in the TVC halfway through the league schedule.

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras guard Vanessa Esquivel tries to pass the ball out of the paint during the Buffs' win against the Rangers.“I think we’re back on track now,” Madras co-coach Rory Oster said. “We’re getting back to the kind of game we were playing earlier in the season.”

A welcome sign for the Buffs was their red-hot effort shooting the ball. Granted, the Buffs missed some layups earlier in the game that could have made the game an incredible blowout win, but they finally hit some midrange and perimeter jump shots with consistency. That’s something the Buffs have had trouble doing all season, and Oster was pretty relieved to see his club do that against the Rangers.

“If this team can put up points like that, with how we play defensively, we can beat almost any team,” Oster said. “Last week was rough, and we knew it was going to be. We played the two toughest teams in the league and it was finals week at school, but we feel back to normal now.”

The big night offensively for the Buffs started right out of the gate. Madras rolled up 27 points in the first quarter alone — more than the Rangers could muster all game — and the scoring came in bunches.

Madras went on a 14-0 run in the final 2:22 of the first quarter to turn a modest 13-5 lead into something insurmountable at 27-5. They scored more points during the run than they did the opening 5:38 of the frame.

As the game wore on, Madras played solid defense and rebounded better than they have most of the season. Estacada scored just two points in the second quarter, and the Buffs put up 13 to take a 40-7 lead into the halftime break.

Oster said playing at home definitely helped the Buffs work their way to the big lead, and Estacada just flat out missed shots they usually make.

“Teams just don’t like coming here,” Oster said. “In our league, they only have to make one trip over the mountain; they aren’t like us where we go over the mountain for every away game. Sitting on a bus for three hours can hurt you if you aren’t used to it. We have a big home court advantage.”

But to say that was most of the reason the Buffs played well would be a disservice to the effort the team gave. Madras snatched 28 steals on the night, and committed 13 turnovers, so the plus-15 in steal-to-turnover margin is evidence enough that the Buffs were getting after it.

Point guard Mariah Stacona tormented the Rangers all night long, scoring 24 points, collecting 10 steals and dishing out seven assists to lead the way.

Kalan Wolfe scored 14 points with five rebounds, and Vanessa Esquivel scored 12 points and hauled in eight rebounds, despite taking a nasty fall on her back in the first quarter.

Esquivel was driving to the bucket for a layup, and an Estacada defender slid underneath Esquivel while she was in the air. Esquivel’s legs went out from under her and she hit the floor with her lower back with a loud thud.

Esquivel, who had a 23-point game against Gladstone, was on her way to a great scoring night again, but her back gave her too many problems the rest of the game.

“She was just tightening up a little bit,” Oster said. “We’re going to get it stretched out in practice, and she should be OK.”

Leah Suppah added 10 points and six steals for the Buffs (3-2, 12-7).

Madras held Estacada to single-digit scoring in every quarter.