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Having learned its lesson from first few games, Cougars defeat visiting Senators to earn second win

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Sophomore Ben Bailey led the team in scoring against Madison.In its first four appearances Canby's boys' basketball team, the Cougars only managed one win. It was something that head coach Craig Evans chalked up to slow starts. The opposition would jump out ahead of Canby, creating a deficit too much for the team to overcome.

To combat that, Evans has upped the tempo at the start of practice, getting the team ready for a live-game feel and to help avoid the damning slump. In the Cougars fifth outing against the Portland Interscholastic League's (PIL) Madison Senators, it appeared that the lesson was learned.

"It was a locker room decision, we were all going to be focused and ready to go right from the get go, just come in, and really take it to somebody," Evans said. "They responded. They did what they said they were going to do, and did what they practiced. Our practice on Monday was the exact same thing. We warmed up just like it was a real game, and then we came out and just went crazy in the first 20 minutes of practice. They responded and hopefully we can keep that up."

Canby jumped out ahead of the visiting team in the first half, and maintained the lead throughout the remainder of the game. The Cougars defeated Madison 54-46 on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to improve to 2-3 in the early part of the season.

The game started out well enough for the Cougars, who quickly jumped into the front position 16-9 by the first quarters end. Coming out strong for the home team was sophomore Ben Bailey, who had half of the points in the quarter.

Bailey was hot all game, getting a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, with 4 assists and 2 steals to boot.

"I just saw a lot of open looks tonight, and was able to get to the hoop tonight," Bailey said. "It helped that my teammates were feeding me the ball, and I got a lot of open looks."

In the second quarter, Canby maintained its lead by again outscoring the Senators, this time by a margin of 11-10. The Cougars found success inside the paint, making 18-of-19 inside baskets right there. At range, it was a different story. Canby made just 15 percent of its 3-point shots, going 4-of-27 with each basket coming from a different Cougar. At the half, Canby led Madison 27-19.

In the third quarter Madison was able to find more success, outscoring Canby 17-15 in that time. The biggest contributor for the Senators was senior Tre Ratcliff, who put up 25 points over the course of the game. Ratcliff was trailed distantly by fellow senior Tommy Pham who had 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Covering those players was a difficult task for Canby's defense, but coach Evans was proud of the way one of his team handled the explosive players.

"Chance (Miller) played his tail off on defense," Evans said. "Defending No. 3 and No. 4 is tough, they're really great guys. Playing man to man a lot of that second half, and Chance and Tyler took them on."

In the fourth quarter, Canby took control of the game, outscoring Madison 12-10 in the final stanza. To round out the game, Canby got the job done with a 54-46 win.

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