Making up for size with heart, competitiveness
The Madras boys basketball program lost a lot of seniors with size, but they are still confident that their up-tempo style and work ethic will allow the Buffalos to have another competitive season.
The "3-diculous," five-man, quick rotation the Buffs used last year has them ready for this year. With 10 players always getting minutes in a varsity game, it allowed the younger players to quickly gain experience and learn what it takes to play Madras basketball.
"Our expectation is to always be competitive and our expectations have never really wavered from that," head MHS boys basketball coach Evan Brown said. "We expect to compete in each and every game, be in each and every game, come out hard and be a positive reflection on our team, school and community."
"We still have guys that played significant minutes last year," he said. "It is not like we don't have any experience coming back. Losing those seniors, especially the size of last year's group, really changes the dynamics and outlook of the team. It definitely has an impact, but we have new faces, young guys coming up and playing some minutes with us, so we will see how that shakes out."
The White Buffalos were the highest scoring team last year, but also gave up a lot of points in the process. Even with a fast pace, Madras tried to use their size inside to score. The Buffs are going to spread the ball around and use a team effort to get to the rim this year.
"Last year, we ran a lot of stuff inside," he said. "When you have 6-foot-4-inch type guys, with Tyler (Lockey), Kanim (Smith) and Lew (Fine), we just don't have that presence inside that we had a year ago. We won't be working as hard to get the ball down there; we will working harder to get the ball to different guys' hands that will hopefully be playmakers for us this year."
Madras will be led by two seniors, Byron Patt and Chapin Grote. Both Patt and Grote knew their style of play had to change a bit, but are confident this year's team will mold together. The Buffs started the season with a 3-9 record last year, but as the year went on, the Buffs started to find their groove, winning eight of their 10 Tri-Valley League games.
The White Buffalos beat Tillamook 95-86 in their home play-in game last year. Next, they faced No. 1 Banks and lost 102-58.
"Our team is small in size, so we really have to hustle to the ball and keep things moving because we can't go slow and let teams use their big men," said Patt. "We need to switch up our game and push hard to have a good season."
"To have a successful year, we need to have good chemistry and keep each other going," said Patt. "We don't have that big of a team, so we need to stick together and play as a team."
"Some of our younger guys are going to need to step up this year," said Grote said. "Some of them were able to get experience playing in the post last year. We are going to be pretty small, but (coach) Brown has us covered by teaching us to be 'dudes' in the paint, so we will be able to get some stuff done."
The White Buffalos' 3-point, up-tempo, hardworking, hustling style is used to wear down their opponents. It is designed to make teams tired, especially if they have an advantage in the paint.
The style works best when the Buffs are in shape and outworking their opponents. With a smaller team, the Buffs are really going to have to use speed and ball handling, with a combination of good passing to completely overwhelm other teams.
"Our core covenants are hard work, selflessness and class," said Brown. "That is what we want to reflect in everything we do, whether it is in the grocery store, or whether we're on the court. Being true to those three covenants and I think by doing the hard work, selflessness and class part of things, we want to be known by that. We want to be known by that and have it reflect everything we do."
"I want people to think this is the main sport in Madras and by attendance, I do think this is the main sport in Madras," Grote said. "I think this is the heart and soul of Madras basketball."