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Lady Buffs not short on motivation in their hunt for a girls basketball league title.

JAYSON SMITH/FOR THE PIONEER - Jiana Smith-Francis (25) led all scorers with 25 points against Mountain View.
Which came first? The chicken, or the egg?

The analogy is becoming increasingly relevant to the Madras girls basketball team.

Last Friday at home, the Lady Buffs trailed Mountain View 24-20 at halftime. Their offense wasn't coming easy, and as a result, their effort on defense went downhill.

"It was a tale of two halves," Madras head coach Zach Lillebo said. "Our defensive intensity wasn't exceptional ... That's been one of our deals — if the shots aren't falling, then we're not completely energized for the defensive aspect of the game."

Whether it was the Madras defense providing the spark for a struggling offense, or the offense inspiring more intensity on defense, the Buffs had a different look in the second half.

Madras used a 21-8 run in the third quarter to capture the lead and build some distance between itself and Mountain View, and ultimately won 59-46. Jiana Smith-Francis led the Buffs with 25 points and five steals, and Lynden Harry tallied 13 points.

"We talked a little bit about coming back out with that enthusiasm and that energy, going back to Madras basketball and not stopping what we're doing."

With Tri-Valley Conference play starting up next Tuesday, Madras turns its attention to another goal — winning a league title.

A big mistake high school athletes make is overlooking certain opponents, based on recent results or their overall record, Lillebo said. If the Buffs are to capture a second league title in three seasons, they will need to summon motivation for every game, regardless of opponent, he said. So far this season, the Buffs have showed that motivation in practice, and for the most part, it has translated to games.

"Motivation is the 12 girls that put in the work; they're playing for each other," Lillebo said.

"I firmly believe that it's a good possibility for us to have a league title, but we can't overlook anybody. We've got to play our level of basketball."

Madras travels to play Molalla Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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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