Pichette pours in 28 points during opening game

After playing two overtime games at the Seaside Holiday Classic, the Madras High School boys basketball team decided enough was enough.

In the third-place game of the Classic, the White Buffalos pounded La Pine 65-46 on Saturday at Seaside High School behind what head coach Allen Hair called “our best effort to date.”

Hair said the overtime loss to Class 2A Central Linn the night before fueled the Buffs to the big win against the Hawks.

“The guys played with a little chip on their shoulder,” Hair said. “They didn’t want to let another one slip away. We played 32 minutes of Madras basketball, flying around and getting after people.”

The Buffs took control of the game in the second period, outscoring the Hawks 22-10 to take a commanding 36-20 halftime lead.

Another balanced scoring attack for the Buffs keyed the win. Junior point guard Jered Pichette led the way with 19 points, but four other Buffs either scored 10 points or were a bucket away from double figures.

Devon Wolfe chipped in 10 points, and the trio of Brent Sullivan, Austin Rauschenberg and Voshaun Bryant each netted eight in the win.

To open the tournament Thursday, Madras played its first overtime game against Newport and picked up a 61-58 win. Foul shooting was critical for the Buffs to secure the win, as they made 9 of 11 attempts in the extra session. Pichette went 6 for 6 from the foul line, and Hair said Reshaun Holliday made a pair of clutch free throws late in the game.

“We have to have the mentality that we’re going to win those tight ballgames,” Hair said. “Playing these games will do nothing but help us moving forward. We executed offensively and got some defensive stops late, and that’s how you win close ones.”

Pichette, who didn’t play in the Buffs’ loss to Bend on Dec. 17, lit up the scoreboard for 28 points to lead all scorers.

Hair said he wasn’t surprised by the way his starting point guard responded after sitting out the Bend game, but he doesn’t hope to have to him score that much all the time.

“I don’t necessarily want him to go off for 30 every night,” Hair said, “but if we need him to, I’ll take it.”

Wolfe had 10 against the Cubs, while Holliday and Rauschenberg each chipped in eight. Hair said Rauschenburg hit a clutch 3-pointer in overtime to help the Buffs’ cause.

All season Hair has been preaching a balanced offensive attack and to “control what they can control,” as he puts it. He basically just wants the team to play hard, no matter what situation they are in.

He thought his team got away from those concepts in the overtime loss to Central Linn in the semifinals on Friday. The Buffs went up early on the 2A program from Halsey, but the Cobras slowly chipped away at the lead and fought the Buffs the entire second half.

“When you are beating a good team like that, you need to bury them and not let them get back in it,” Hair said. “I think we lost our composure a little bit. Some calls didn’t go our way and we forced some shots. We weren’t as aggressive as Central Linn was, especially in the second half.”

Madras led 27-18 at the half, but Central Linn and their star forward Alex Pettner got going. Pettner finished with a game-high 25 points to help the Cobras outscore the Buffs 31-22 in the second half to force the extra session.

The Buffs have another three-game tournament coming up, which begins Thursday against Tillamook at Stayton High School. Hair said he loves playing these holiday break tournaments because it helps the players get a taste of what postseason tournament play is like.

“Once we’re done with these tournaments, the inexperience of our players should be gone,” Hair said. “We’re still young, but the guys will have a bunch of games under their belts, and when the league schedule rolls around, inexperience will not be an issue anymore.”

Hair said Tillamook isn’t a bad team by any means, and that they should be a good test for the Buffs. Currently, the Cheesemakers are 1-3 with their only win coming against Mollala, a Tri-Valley Conference opponent for the Buffs. Tillamook is on a three-game losing streak, though, with its last loss to another TVC team, La Salle Prep, 63-42.

Along with Tillamook and Madras, the tournament field boasts 4A teams Seaside, La Grande, Sweet Home, Central and host Stayton. Rounding out the field will be the McNary junior varsity team.

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