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Cowboys make a late run, but come up short in 82-73 Tri-Valley Conference loss to Madras

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Thaiden Mullan drives to the basket for two of his game-high 23 points in the Cowboys' loss to the Madras White Buffalos on Tuesday night. Crook County fell behind by 23 points early in the third period, then made a late charge, getting to within five points before finally falling 82-73 to the White Buffalos. The Madras White Buffalos played one of their best games of the year as they held on to defeat the Crook County Cowboys 82-73 Tuesday night in a key Tri-Valley Conference basketball game.

"Both teams were playing for something tonight," said Madras head coach Evan Brown. "If you had any aspirations of winning the league title, you needed to win this game tonight in order to somewhat keep pace."

The two teams entered the game, which was played in Prineville, tied for second place in the conference with identical 3-1 league records. After a close first half, the White Buffalos raced out to a 23-point lead in the third quarter, only to see the Cowboys battle back to within five points late in the fourth quarter.

However, Madras did just enough to win, pulling out the key league victory.

"Madras has not shot the ball that well all season," Crook County head coach Darin Kessi said. "It's disappointing that we didn't defend home court, but Madras played really well. I have watched Madras play four or five times in person this year, and that's the best that they have played."

The Cowboys were red hot to start the game, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. When Jordan Graydon made a shot from the middle of the key midway through the period, the Cowboys were till up 11-6.

However, Madras came storming back, scoring seven consecutive points to take a 13-11 lead.

The White Buffalos led 16-15 at the end of the quarter. However, the Cowboys regained the lead early in the second quarter on a Jacob Kasberger layup.

When Chase Bales was fouled moments later and converted on one of two free throws, the Cowboys led 18-16.

But that's when, Madras went on another big run, outscoring Crook County 19-4 over the next three minutes.

Trailing 35-22, Crook County went on a run of their own late in the second quarter, as they outscored the White Buffalos 13-3 in the final two minutes and 30 seconds of the half.

Crook County tied the game at 35-35 on a Thaiden Mullan layup before Bryan Patt hit a three with just seconds remaining in the half to give Madras a 38-35 halftime lead.

Patt's three was one of 15 for the White Buffalos in the game.

Madras came out on fire to start the third quarter, scoring the first nine points of the period to up their lead to 47-35.

"I told the boys I wished that the second quarter hadn't ended because we were rolling there for a little bit," Kessi said. "Then for some reason, our momentum stopped when we came out at halftime."

Baskets by Devin Bishop and Graydon put the Cowboys back to within 10 at 49-39, however the White Buffalos continued to surge, running out to a 64-41 lead.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Dominic Langley goes to the basket against Kahne Herkshan, of Madras. Langley scored two points in the game as the White Buffalos defeated the Cowboys 82-73. "The way we play, it's a game of streaks," Brown said. "We are going to put up big numbers in a hurry at certain points of time. What we have got to do is limit those big streaks by our opponents."

The Cowboys regained a little momentum late in the period as Kaleb Savage was fouled on his way to the basket. Savage made the basket and the free throw to cut the White Buffalo lead to 64-44 at the end of the third period.

"We knew that with Madras you are never out if it," Kessi said. "But they are never out of it either. A shot that might be a good shot in a normal game, it's not necessarily a really good shot with Madras. We tried to rush some shots, but there were times, though, when the boys did a really good job of being disciplined and making the extra passes."

The Cowboys got hot in the fourth quarter, making a big run of their own.

When Shane Kessi made a pair of free throws with 2:20 remaining in the contest, the Cowboys were back in the game, trailing just 73-67.

A Kasberger free throw made the score 73-68.

An offensive rebound and basket by Kanim Smith gave the White Buffalos a 76-68 lead.

However, moments later, Kessi was fouled while attempting a 3-point shot. He converted on all three free-throw attempts, making the score 76-71.

That was as close as the Cowboys would get as the White Buffalos outscored the Cowboys 6-2 over the game's final minute.

"They did a good job of pressuring us at times, and we got ourselves in trouble when we tried to rush shots and speed things up instead of being more disciplined and not settling for bad shots," Coach Kessi said. "You can't spot a team 23 points, but I was proud of the boys because they battled back and kept believing and stayed positive and kept working and trusting that we could get ourselves back in the game."

The White Buffalos Smith led all scorers with 20 points, while Patt finished with 16. Cash Reese and Tyler Lockey were also in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys were led by Mullan, who finished with 23 points. Graydon added 14, while Bales finished with 11 and Kessi 10.

"I think we could have taken it," Mullan said. "We just have to move fast, get the ball up the court and look for teammates. If we could have broke the press, it was layups."

In addition to his 20 points, Smith had 13 rebounds and five steals for the White Buffalos.

Bales and Savage led the Cowboys on the boards with seven each, while Mullan and Bishop each grabbed five.

Kessi had five steals for the Cowboys.

With the victory, the White Buffalos improved to 4-1 in league and 8-10 overall while the Cowboys fell to 3-2 in league and 6-12 overall.

The Cowboys are back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 6 when they host the Estacada Rangers (2-3, 4-14) in a must-win game.

The Cowboys defeated the Rangers on the road in their previous meeting.

Madras 82, Crook County 73

Tuesday, January 30

At Crook County

Madras 16 22 26 18 — 82

Crook County 15 20 9 29 — 73

Madras (82) — Kanim Smith 20, Patt 16, Reese 11, Lockey 10, Thurby 9, Herkshan 7, Fine 4, Grote 3, Badoni 2, Bagley, Miller. Totals: 29 9-25 82.

Crook County (73) — Thaiden Mullan 23, Graydon 14, Bales 11, Kessi 10, Savage 6, Kasberger 5, Bishop 2, Langley 2. Totals: 27 14-24 73.

Three-point goals — Madras: Patt 4, Reese 3, Thurby 3, Lockey 2, Smith, Herkshan. Crook County: Mullan 3, Bales, Kessi.

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