Madras girls show strength in team depth
The Madras girls basketball team didn't seem to care who scored in wins last Friday and Saturday over Redmond and Hood River Valley, respectively.
It would be an overreaction to say after two games that the White Buffalos will have a deeper, more complete team than last year. But if they continue their unselfish play, they will be tough for any team to beat.
Their depth was on display in a 59-30 win over Hood River Valley. Although Vanessa Culps led Madras with 18 points, including four made 3-pointers, the Buffs were well-rounded with Jayden Davis (10 points), Lynden Harry (eight) and Monika Stacona (seven).
"(Balance) is really good; we're sharing the ball more," Culps said, adding that the Buffs are putting in extra effort in practices.
The Buffs also averaged 72 shot attempts in their first two games. That came as a result of forced turnovers on the defensive end, setting up open shots in transition. They also racked up 27 assists, 17 of which came against Hood River Valley.
"It was well balanced, and I'll take a well-balanced victory any day of the week," head coach Zach Lillebo said. "There are going to be nights where Lynden (Harry), Jiana (Smith-Francis), your kids come out with 27 points or whatever it may be. But I don't feel like anyone is trying to do that this year."
In both games, playing with a lead throughout, Madras was able to get all 12 of its girls playing time. Lillebo acknowledged they won't be able to do that every game, but the first two presented them opportunities to find out who plays well on the floor together.
"I would love to be able to play 12 every game, but it's not going to happen," Lillebo said. "Tonight, we used the last quarter to see matchups."
Madras will have a week to get ready for the Marshfield Tournament in Coos Bay. This is the second year in a row they've played in the tournament.
Madras will face North Bend on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. Lillebo is a graduate of North Bend, and his daughter, Hannah Lillebo, is a sophomore on the Bulldogs' team.