Madras Lady Buffalos basketball loses to 6A Bend, go 2-1 in a Holiday tournament.

STEELE HAAUGEN - Jayden Davis drives the ball past a Bend defender and makes a pass to a teammate. 
Davis had 8 points, seven rebounds and two assists, but the Lady Buffs lost 63-50The Madras girls basketball team traveled to Marshfield High School Dec. 13-15, and played in the Les Schwab Holiday Tournament. The Lady Buffs lost their first game to Philomath 71-46, but won their next two.

In the Philomath game, Madras was a little short-handed and could not get things going in the first quarter.

"We had a long bus ride there, did not have two girls play and one girl sat out a half due to disciplinary reasons," head coach Jerin Say said. "Just being lethargic at the start of the game had an effect; physically and mentally I don't think we were ready for that game."

The Buffs were led by Dominique Walker, who scored 12 points. Jiana Smith-Francis added 9 points and Jayden Davis finished the night with 7 points and four assists.

Madras played North Valley next and beat them 69-48.

"We talked after the Philomath game and talked things out and played well against North Valley," Say said. "The team was able to play our game, uptempo, hustle, rebounding and was able to get a lot of steals. That was really encouraging to see."

Davis led the team in scoring with 16 points. She also recorded two rebounds and three assists. Culps hit four 3-pointers to help her score 15 points, along with five rebounds. Smith-Francis had a well-rounded game with 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Jalaney Suppah added 6 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

The Lady Buffs played Junction City in their last game of the tournament and beat them 60-54.

"The team played pretty tough," Say said. "Our defense stepped up and we were able to spread the ball and attack the hoop, finding the open players. We had to make some adjustments because our 3-pointers were not falling, but once we attacked, it opened up our shots."

The Lady Buffs were up by 10 in the fourth quarter, but were in foul trouble, allowing Junction City to climb back in the game. They chipped away with free throws and took away the fast-pace Madras offense.

Junction City tied the game up with a little over a minute left in the game.

"The girls were able to stay focused and hit a big three and make a lay-in from a steal," said Say. "It was really a free throw battle after that."

Madras was led by Culps, who scored 19 points and made five 3-pointers to go along with five rebounds. Jackie Zamora-Heath added 9 points for the White Buffalos.

"We took a good beating from Philomath, which was another good wake-up call for us, no matter who was there or not there," Say said. "If we want to be the upper 4A team, those are the teams we need to play if we want a playoff run. So, it lets the girls know they need to come to practice and work hard every day, making each other better."

"It also opens my eyes as a coach to hold them accountable," he said. "I know we are still learning and growing as a team. No matter how good we are game to game, there is always more room to improve throughout the season."

STEELE HAUGEN - Jiana Smith-Francis tries to shoot a floater over the top of a tall Bend High defender. Smith-Francis finished the game with 14 points.

Bend pulls away

The Madras White Buffalos girls basketball team was on a three-game winning streak before losing 63-50 to 6A Bend High School on Dec. 11.

The Buffalos had a big challenge with the much bigger and taller Lava Bears, but didn't back down. The Buffs were down 4-2 to start the game before a deep three by Culps gave Madras a 5-4 lead.

A few plays later, a steal and lay-in by Davis gave the Buffs an 11-9 lead and with around three minutes left in the first quarter, Culps hit a corner three to give the Buffs a 14-11 lead.

In the second quarter, the Buffs were down 22-16 before Zamora-Heath stole a Lava Bear pass for a lay-in. With around two minutes left in the half, Smith-Francis hit a deep 3-point shot to make the score 27-26 in favor of Bend.

A few plays later, Smith-Francis found Culps on a fast break to make the score 30-28. The Lava Bears ran down the floor with time ticking away in the second quarter. They looked like they were going to score on a lay-in before Smith-Francis sprinted down the floor for a huge rejection at the buzzer and the Buffalos went into halftime down 30-28.

Monika Stacona hit a 3-pointer and Culps hit a fast break jump shot at the start of the third quarter to give the Buffs a 33-30 lead.

The Lava Bears went on an 8-0 run with some free throws and a post up score by 6-foot-1 inch Caitlin Wheeler. A steal by Culps led to a three by Smith-Francis and the Buffs were down 40-37 before a steal on an inbounds pass by Zamora-Heath set up an open jumper.

With the Lava Bears up 40-39 with 2:22 left in the third quarter, head Bend coach Allison Gardner called a timeout.

A couple lay-ins by Emma Cannon and some free throws by the Buffs made the score 46-42 in favor of Bend at the end of the third quarter.

The Lava Bears went on a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter and head Madras coach Jerin Say called a timeout with around five minutes left in the game.

Bend was attacking the glass hard and was able to make three put-back lay-ins on six offensive rebounds. Madras hit two 3-pointers by Kalise Holliday in between baskets and the Buffs were down 59-48 before calling a timeout with 2:38 left.

The Lava Bears were able to control the ball for most of the last two minutes and Bend was able to beat Madras 63-50.

STEELE HAUGEN - Jackie Zamora-Heath tries to use her speed to drive to the hoop."We were coming into this game with Madras knowing these girls and how they play," said Gardner about her players' performance. "It is a very different style than we play, so we really had to adjust and play a different level of intensity. These girls (Madras) are really good at attacking, kicking and shooting. We had to work very, very hard on defense and make good choices."

"We had some kids hit shots on the outside, which made it harder for Madras to collapse on our inside players," she said about keys to their win. "We started clamping down on defense and they were not able to turn the corner on us and get in the paint."

The Lava Bears were led by 6-foot Kaycee Brown, who finished the game with 18 points and eight rebounds.

"I felt the girls, for three solid quarters, played really strong, aggressive defense," Say said. "The fourth quarter, a few things got away from us and they were able to get some easy baskets. On offense, we were a little passive and weren't attacking throughout the game. That is what our game is about, attacking the hoop and looking for our teammates."

"It is a good preseason game for us because there are 4A teams just like Bend out there," he said on playing a bigger school. "This prepares us for playoff basketball. I am not to worried about the wins and losses right now. I am more worried about us learning, watching film, getting better and translating that to the court."

The Buffalos were led in scoring by Smith-Francis with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Behind her was Culps with 13 points and Davis ended the night with 8 points, seven rebounds and two assists.

The White Buffalos will compete in the Summit Holiday Tournament, in Bend, on Dec. 27-28. They will face 5A Ridgeview on Dec. 27, at 11 a.m.

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