Buffs put together most complete performance to date, take out Banks at home

The Madras High School girls basketball team closed out its nonconference schedule on a high note, topping Banks 49-40 Friday in the Buffalo Dome.

The White Buffalos combined a balanced scoring attack with one of their best efforts on the defensive glass all season, and co-head coach Rory Oster said it was one of the best performances his club has put together all season.

"This was just an absolute team effort," Oster said. "Banks is one heck of a good ballclub, and they are going to win a ton of games this year, but bottom line this was just a great basketball game."

The game was not without drama, however. With under a minute left in the game and the Buffs up 45-37, Banks head coach Brandon Bagley called a timeout he thought he had. After it was granted, however, the home scorebook said he didn't have anymore to use.

After a lengthy discussion by the officials, and an animated display from Bagley in protest, the Banks coach was assessed a technical foul for stepping out on to the floor, along with a bench technical for calling more timeouts than they had.

Madras was awarded four foul shots, two for each technical, and possession afterward.

"It's tough when something like that disrupts the flow of the game, but both teams did an awesome job with awesome attitudes and played through it," Oster said. "That's what high school basketball is all about."

Unfortunately for the Buffs, they only converted one of the foul shots, and Banks was able to cut the lead to six, 46-40, on a Lauren Birr runner in the lane with 21.9 seconds left.

Both teams had issues putting the ball in the bucket early on. The teams struggled to a 10-6 count, with Banks out in front, but then Madras started to surge.

Junior Mariah Stacona put a slick move on a Banks defender with a between-the-legs dribble, and then stepped back to drill a deep three-pointer to give the Buffs a 13-10 lead.

About 10 seconds later, sophomore Kalan Wolfe scored a bucket off a steal, drew a foul and then nailed the foul shot to retake the lead for the Buffs 16-13.

From there, the Buffs outscored Banks 9-5 to take a 25-18 lead at the half.

Stacona led the Buffs with 15 points, but Oster said the play of both Jordan Leonard and Leah Suppah was critical to picking up the win.

"Leah was really motivated to play more, and she had a great shooting night tonight," Oster said. "If she shoots a high percentage, she's going to get more time."

Suppah finished with 10 points, and always seems to be in the right place at the right time to get long offensive rebounds and pull up quick jumpers.

Leonard scored nine for the Buffs, and Oster flat out said it was the best game she has played all season.

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras guard Jordan Leonard leans in to shoot over a Banks defender during the Buffs' 49-40 win against the Braves. Madras finished the nonconference portion of its schedule with a 9-5 record."We keyed that out in the locker room," Oster said. "I let her know how well she played, and she came through big time for us."

Another issue Oster and the Buffs were able to solve was defending a bigger player in the paint. Banks' six-foot sophomore Megan Bunn finished with 10 points, but Madras forward Cirelle Frank made sure it was the hardest 10 points the Braves' big girl had ever earned.

"Cirelle was just a beast down there tonight," Oster said. "She is a brick, and she's not someone that's real fun to play against. A lot of people may not have recognized how well she played, but she was outstanding."

Vanessa Esquivel chipped in six points for the Buffs, and Wolfe scored five.

Ariel Slifka led the Braves with 12 points, followed by Bunn.

Madras (9-5) will play at 7 p.m. Friday at Molalla.

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