Madras girls wrap up undefeated, 10-0 Tri-Valley Conference record
Madras took its bumps and bruises during its Thursday road game, a 48-22 win at Corbett.
Numerous girls collided and fell to the floor, and even one player ended up on crutches following the end of the game.
Though Madras had already clinched the Tri-Valley Conference title, after beating Gladstone 48-25 two nights earlier, it wanted preserve its perfect league mark with two regular season games remaining.
Corbett, meanwhile, had virtually nothing to play for, having already been eliminated from postseason contention. However, it was the Cardinals' senior night and last home game, so they had no shortage of motivation. Corbett and its home crowd pestered the Lady Buffs all game, but after an early Corbett surge, Madras kept its composure and pulled away.
"Ever since my freshman year, we've come here, we've had a battle against the refs, other players, other fans," junior Jackie Zamora said. "It's just all in our minds. We can't take it out on the other people, because it's going to come back on us and allow the other team to come (back) into the ball game."
Offense was a struggle for both teams at the start of the game, as Madras made only three field goals, and Corbett one, by the end of the first quarter, with the Lady Buffs leading 7-4.
But it didn't take long before the scoring pace of Madras left Corbett in the dust.
Jayden Davis and Vanessa Culps paced Madras midway through the second period; each player made a pair of baskets to give Madras a 15-9 edge. Alesha Freeman then converted a three-point play, and Lynden Harry earned a trip to the line, making both attempts, and swished a 3-pointer on the next Madras possession. Annie Whipple scored the last Madras bucket of the half, pushing the Buffs' lead to 26-9.
Though their 19-point second quarter helped build a sizable lead, they kept it going in the third quarter with another 14 points.
Davis and Culps again started the scoring run, with each scoring a layup in the opening minutes of the third. Jiana Smith-Francis followed with a pair of buckets, and Whipple added another layup.
Then at the 1:43 mark, Chloe Smith swished a deep ball, and 30 seconds later, grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a shooting foul. She made one of two free throws, giving Madras a 40-15 lead.
The Madras scoring distribution was fairly even, as Harry and Davis each had seven points, while Kaliyah Iverson, Culps and Whipple each chipped in six points apiece.
But even with the game already out of reach, Corbett continued to play physical, to the point that Madras objected to some of the Cardinals' fouls. That was especially true when, soon after Ellise David checked into the game in the fourth quarter, she drew contact from Corbett and remained down on the ground holding her knee. She was helped off the court, and had to use crutches after game.
Whether or not all of the plays were clean, it was good practice nonetheless for the Buffs in the playoffs, when officials often call fewer fouls and aim to have games be decided in live possessions, rather than at the foul line.
"We're definitely going to face this in our coming games," Zamora said. "It's definitely going to be harder and harder. All we can do is keep each other up (and) have a tough mentality."
As of Monday, Feb. 19, Madras was ranked No. 9 in the OSAA's 4A girls basketball poll. That ranking should be enough to earn the Buffs a home playoff game for the March 2-3 weekend.
Madras clinched an undefeated, 10-0 regular season with a 59-24 win at Crook County Feb. 20. The Buffs held just a seven-point lead at halftime, but outscored the Cowgirls 21-4 in the third quarter to pull away.
The Lady Buffs, currently ranked No. 9 in the 4A girls poll, will play a first-round playoff game March 2. Their opponent will be determined following the Feb. 23-24 play-in games.