Molalla senior Maddy Lisac made a surprise return to the basketball court Thursday night.
But that was not enough to get the Indians past visiting Madras.
Led by Jiana Smith Francis' 23 points, the White Buffaloes earned a 56-48 Tri-Valley Conference victory.
Playing its final home game, Molalla went on a 9-2 late in the second quarter to lead 26-25 at halftime.
The Indians held on to a 37-34 lead entering the fourth quarter before Francis went off with nine points to give Madras a 47-39 lead with 4:30 remaining in the game.
"She's a great player," Molalla coach Phil Wiesner said of Francis. "She's a heck of a shot. You can't let her have opportunities. I think we forget how easily she gets off a shot. She definitely made the difference there in that fourth quarter. They were smart and kept the ball in her hands."
Madras also took advantage of a string of Molalla turnovers.
"You want to get the ball out in front against them," Wiesner said of the White Buffaloes' press. "You don't want to get in love with the dribble against them. We had too many unforced turnovers, and we just didn't take care of the ball."
Lisac made two free throws to get Molalla within 50-46 with 2:20 to go. But the White Buffaloes went 6-for-6 from the four line in the final 1:14 to finish off the Indians.
Lisac, who dislocated her left elbow on Jan. 25 at Country Christian, was not expected back this season.
"I wasn't expecting to be back," Lisac said. "I thought my season was definitely going to be over. She (the doctor) didn't want me playing because if I did injure it again, it could definitely mess it up even more."
But with time running out on her senior season, Lisac decided to see how she felt during Wednesday's practice.
"It didn't hurt anymore and it felt fine, so I said why not (play)," Lisac said. "I didn't want my season to be over and I wanted to play with my team. It's senior year. I don't have a spring sport."
Lisac scored 15 points to lead the Indians against Madras.
"It felt really good," Lisac said of returning to the team. "I was just so excited to play with my team again. It's so hard sitting and watching and not being out there with them doing good things."
Lisac returned against a Madras team that presses for the entire 32 minutes.
"I wouldn't say I'm in shape, but I think it's just a mind game going out there and you play as hard as you can," Lisac said. "I know we all wanted to win. They're (Madras) a good team. They're a scrappy team. I think we played with heart. Sometimes that's (losing) just how it goes."
Jayden Davis scored 11 points and DaRia White added 10 for the White Buffaloes, who jumped into second place with a 6-3 record in the Tri-Valley Conference.
Molalla, which closes the regular season Monday at Gladstone, dropped to 5-4.
"We just keep battling," Wiesner said.
More photos at derekwiley.smugmug.com.
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