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White Buffalos took to shore up shooting, foul trouble after winless opening week.

WILL DENNER/MADRAS PIONEER - Cash Reese (middle) draws a foul in traffic against La Grande on Saturday. Reese has reached double figures in scoring in two of three games, as have Kanim Smith and Byron Patt (not pictured).It took all of one minute, three seconds for the Madras boys basketball team to take out its five starters, and substitute in a fresh platoon last Friday.

Then the starters came in at the 5:45 mark, and subbed out again with 4:25 left in the 8-minute quarter. You get the idea.

Although the White Buffalos debuted three nights earlier, Friday's game against Redmond was the first chance for home fans to see a difference in style, predicated on pace, trapping and 3-pointers. Lots of them.

The system has potential to wear down opponents quickly, but can also enable them to score easily.

That was the case in both Madras Invitational games last weekend. The Buffs lost to Redmond, 75-66, on Friday, then dropped a 70-53 game to La Grande on Saturday afternoon. Madras got its points, but dug itself deep holes early in both games.

At times, the offense had trouble finding a rhythm, and as a result, easy scoring opportunities were hard to get.

Scoring has come from a variety of places so far, as Kanim Smith, Byron Patt and Cash Reese have all recorded at least 10 points in two of three games. But according to Madras head coach Evan Brown, the Buffs' shot selection has room for improvement.

"We're either taking challenged 2s or rushed 3s," Brown said. "Some of that has to do with us setting each other up ... us doing a better job of making decisions with the basketball, and also delivering a ball that's catchable and shootable."

The Buffs have also had issues with foul trouble, as both Smith and Tyler Lockey fouled out of Friday's game, and the team committed a total of 23. Brown said he saw the team improve in that area during the first half against La Grande, when the Buffs trimmed a 28-6 deficit after one quarter into a 36-29 margin at halftime.

"The first two games, the pace was too slow because we fouled too much," Brown said. "That's even somewhat the case in the third game. We did a better job in the first half against La Grande, but in the second half, we started fouling again. So it's pretty hard to get that tempo of the game up when we keep fouling."

Madras (0-3) hopes to turn a corner this weeekend, as it travels to play in the Seaside Tournament Dec. 14-16. The Buffs will get a tough draw when they face 4A defending champion Seaside on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Interestingly, Seaside (3-0) has played only Tri-Valley Conference teams so far in Gladstone, Molalla and Corbett. The game should give the Buffs an early measuring stick of where they're at compared to the best in 4A.

"They're a solid team; they're a guard-dominant team," Brown said. "It will be a difficult matchup for us.

Contact Will Denner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow him on Twitter
@MadrasSports, @WillCDenner

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