White Buffalos win first two Tri-Valley Conference games by at least 20-point margins.

WILL DENNER/MADRAS PIONEER - Kanim Smith (44) was one of five Madras players to reach double figures in scoring against Estacada on Friday.Two Tri-Valley Conference games, two blowout victories for Madras.

The latest result, an 85-50 thumping against Estacada at home, was the second game in a row that the White Buffalos beat a conference opponent by more than 20 points — the first one coming Tuesday, Jan. 16 against Molalla.

Despite a 4-9 nonleague record, with several of those losses versus bigger 5A and 6A teams, the Buffs have started TVC play 2-0 with a pair of convincing wins. It's far too early to predict where Madras is headed this season, but the first week of TVC play at least has the Buffs feeling that they are clicking with one another and their 3-diculous system, which yielded eight deep balls on Friday.

"I feel like playing higher ranked, 5A teams all preseason, it's helped out a lot," senior Lewis Fine said. "Seeing the same size schools we're playing now makes a big difference."

Madras deflected countless Estacada passes, leading to uncontested layups and 3-pointers on the other end. The Buffs played the style they wanted, and Estacada was hard pressed to stop it.

"We're doing a better job on the back side (of the trap)," Madras head coach Evan Brown said. "We're getting more pressure on it and we're doing a better job of reading those passes and getting a piece. We really preach on just getting a piece of the ball. That's their job, is just to get a deflection, and it's the other guy's job to pick up the steals."

In a 54-second span during the first quarter, Madras scored nine quick points, turning a 6-4 lead into a 15-4 advantage over Estacada. The White Buffalos led by double digits the rest of the way. The run started when Kahne Herkshan corralled a loose ball and flipped in a layup while drawing a foul. He missed the ensuing free throw, but Chapin Grote grabbed the offensive rebound and scored in the paint.

The Buffs' hectic pace continued from then on, as they scored 30 points in the second quarter to claim a comfortable, 56-28 halftime lead.

WILL DENNER/MADRAS PIONEER - Madras found plenty of easy scoring opportunities around the basket, including this third-quarter layup from Cash Reese, who led the Buffs with 13 points.They didn't let up in the third quarter, either. With 1:09 remaining in the third, Cash Reese drilled a corner 3-pointer, pushing the Madras lead to 73-34. The Buffs went up by 40 points when Byron Patt took a defender off the dribble and hit a stepback deep ball with under 10 seconds remaining. The lead of 76-36 was their largest of the game.

Madras slowed down its pace considerably in the fourth quarter, scoring just nine points compared to Estacada's 14.

Five Madras players reached double figures in Reese (13 points) Byron Patt (12), Smith (10), Herkshan (10) and Chad Thurby (10), while Tyler Lockey and Fine each chipped in eight points.

For Estacada, Calvin Dryden's 13 points led the team and Mateo Burgos also reached double figures with 12 points.

Although Madras can feel upbeat about its opening week of TVC games, players and coaches see plenty of room to grow. That's to be expected at this point in the season. They appear to be on an upward trajectory, though, and if that trend continues, the Buffs will be a tough team to face in the race for a league title.

"Until we play that perfect game, we're going to keep coaching and try to get that improvement on a daily basis," Brown said. "We feel like we still have a ways to go in getting better. As long as we keep improving, we'll be alright the rest of the season."

Smith echoed Brown's stance: "We're getting better and better; everything is starting to fall into place," he said. "There's still room for improvement."

Madras will travel to play Gladstone (5-11, 2-0 TVC) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Contact Will Denner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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