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by: PHOTO BY ALEX PAJUNAS/DAILY ASTORIAN - Madras' Rosebud Whipple (22) defends Astoria's Marina Oman during the first round of the Seaside Holiday Classic basketball tournament Thursday at Seaside High School. Madras falls to host Seagulls in title game

The Madras High School girls basketball team looked like they were going to run away with the Seaside Holiday Classic championship, but Seaside’s big second half lifted the Seagulls to a 61-42 win Saturday at Seaside High School.

The White Buffalos were hot out of the gate to start the title game, running up a 13-point lead, but turnovers and poor shooting in the second half allowed the Seagulls to come back.

by: PHOTO BY ALEX PAJUNAS/DAILY ASTORIAN - Madras' Vanessa Esquivel (right) tries to outrun Astoria's Rylee Demander (left) for a loose ball during Thursday's action at the Seaside Holiday Classic basketball tournament.“We shot 15 percent in the second half, and that’ll hurt you no matter what else you do,” Madras co-head coach Zach Lillebo said. “We’re going to look at the film to see what else we can work on, but we turned it over quite a bit, too.”

Through the first 12 minutes, so midway through the second quarter, Madras was shooting the lights out to take their lead. By the end of the first half, the Buffs shot 60 percent from the field. But for whatever reason, the Buffs went ice cold in the second half.

Cirelle Frank led the Buffs with 12 points, followed by Janae Adams with eight.

In the semifinals Friday against Sisters, the Buffs shook off a slow start and ended up clobbering the Outlaws 51-26.

Lillebo said the officials were letting a lot of contact happen and allowing the game to get pretty physical, and he said he was proud of his team didn’t let that get to them.

“We had a bit of a rough first half,” Lillebo said, “but after we woke up we played pretty well.”

Lillebo said his team’s defense was on display the entire tournament, averaging more than 20 forced turnovers a game, which led to easy layups on the offensive end.

“That’s the kind of basketball we need to play,” Lillebo said. “Our defense has been one of the things we’ve improved on the most since the beginning of the year, and we have to continue to play hard.”

Lillebo said the Buffs are passing the ball better, averaging around 18 assists per game to start the season, and the attitudes and demeanors of the players are also positive signs.

In the opening game of the tournament, a 9 a.m. wake-up round game against Astoria, the Buffs routed the Lady Fish 54-37.

Even after playing three consecutive games, Lillebo said the loss in the final shouldn’t have been because of fatigue. He said maybe some of the missed or forced shots were due to that, but in the end when a team is playing for a tournament championships, the players have to dig deep and figure out a way to play.

“You still need to have 32 minutes of basketball left in you when you’re playing for a title,” Lillebo said. “We just live and learn after this one, and this is something that I’m sure will motivate the girls. We just have to take care of business.”

The Buffs will open the Stayton Holiday Tournament on Thursday with a rematch against Seaside.

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