Madras finishes tournament emphatically
With two games to go before Tri-Valley Conference play kicks off, the Madras girls basketball team's 9-2 record suggests it is on the right track.
They're not dwelling on the two losses, particularly the most recent one that came on Thursday, a 52-44 loss to Bend at the Les Schwab Oregon Holiday Hoops Fest in Bend. But the Lady Buffs do believe they could just as easily be 11-0. Those games are history, though the lessons they learned from them could help them in the future.
"I was hoping for a better record — undefeated would've been nice — but it's just a loss and we've got to move on," senior Lynden Harry said of the defeat to the 5A Lava Bears. "We can always learn from it, and that's what I'm most excited about, is where we're going to improve."
So, after a night when they struggled to score against Bend, with a shooting percentage of under 30 percent, they shrugged it off and moved on. Two games later, Madras bounced back with wins over Franklin and Putnam, both by double digits.
"Our girls know they're better than them," Madras head coach Zach Lillebo said. "That's the mentality they have, and it's not a bad thing.
"It's not something you can teach, it's just something that has come with them as they've grown."
In the process of getting back to their winning ways, the Buffs rediscovered their deadliest formula — an unselfish offense that is at its best when players are sharing the ball and making the extra pass.
Against Putnam on Saturday, Harry led all scorers with 22 points, though the Buffs got plenty of help elsewhere, including 10 points from Jiana Smith-Francis and Annie Whipple chipping in nine.
Friday against Franklin, it was Jayden Davis keying the Madras attack with 18 points. The previous night, Smith-Francis and Jalaney Suppah each led the Buffs with 10.
"We're finding the open person (and) we're getting easier shots off of it," Harry said.
When Madras is hitting from the field, in turn, it inspires them to play tougher defense.
Take, for example, the Buffs' win over Putnam. They held Putnam to quarters of five and six points, while Madras was getting nearly every shot they wanted, helped in part by their activity on defense.
Their next step, Harry said, is bringing that effort consistently each game.
Madras plays host to Mountain View on Friday.