Lady Buffs lose to Gladstone 51-49 after big lead, beat Molalla for senior night win.

STEELE HAUGEN - Senior Vanessa Culps hits a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to help the Lady buffs beat the Molalla Indians on senior night.
The Lady Buffs basketball team is still adjusting to their new line-up and after losing a close game 51-49 at Gladstone Feb. 12, the Buffs won a very important game against Molalla on Thursday.

Madras beat the Indians 71-59 on senior night and made sure they stayed in second place (6-3 TVC), in the Tri-Valley Conference with one league game left.

Molalla scored first, but Jiana Smith-Francis drove hard to the hoop for an and-1, giving the Buffs the lead. A steal by Jayden Davis led to a give-and-go from Monika Stacona back to Davis for a lay-in.

Madras had a 5-4 lead, but the Indians hit three 3-pointers and a lay-in, going on a 11-0 run, before Madras head coach Jerin Say called a timeout with 1:45 left in the quarter.

After the timeout, Davis grabbed an offensive rebound and made a spin move to get to the rim. The next play, White found a open Vanessa Culps for three and the Lady Buffs ended the quarter down 15-12.

DaRia White hit a jumper and Culps drove hard to the hoop, giving Madras a one-point lead to start the second quarter.

Molalla scored six unanswered points to start the second, before White scored on a drive to the rim. Smith-Francis was in the bonus with 3:12 left in the half. She made 1-of-2, but White grabbed the miss and worked hard for a basket down low, tying the game at 21-all. Say called a timeout for Madras with three minutes left.

The Indians scored after the timeout, but White knocked down a three, Davis scored on a drive, Culps scored on a lay-in and White knocked down some free throws for a quick 9-0 run by the Lady Buffs.

Near the end of the quarter, Smith-Francis scored on a tough drive, but Molalla hit a big three right before the buzzer. The Lady Buffs went into the locker room with a 32-27 lead.

In the second half, the first two baskets for Molalla were 3-pointers and they tied the game at 33-33, before Culps made a big 3-pointer herself and Davis used fancy dribbling to finish her drive with a hoop.

A few plays later, Molalla coach Phil Wiesner received a technical foul and Smith-Francis knocked in both free throws. Davis scored a putback on the next play and Madras had a seven-point lead.

STEELE HAUGEN - DaRia White, 33, moves in to grab an offensive rebound on a free throw and works hard in the post for an And-1.
Madras was in foul trouble late in the first half and Molalla went on a 8-0 run, taking the lead with 1:15 left in the half. Madras called a timeout and Jonissa Scott nailed a shot from behind the arc.

A steal off the Lady Buffs' press led to a Kalise Holliday lay-in and Davis knocked down a floater. White found Davis at the end of the quarter for a lay-in and Madras took a 51-43 lead heading into the fourth.

The Indians were in the double bonus early in the fourth quarter, which slowed the game down and forced the already shorthanded Buffs to sit some crucial players. As Molalla was knocking in free throws, Davis scored on back-to-back drives to the hoop.

Molalla did not have an answer to the sophomore's relentlessness, getting to the hoop at will. A post move "and-1" by Molalla cut the Buffs' lead down to four, but Davis again made it to the rim on a spin move.

Molalla kept making free throws as White fouled out of the game. The lead was cut to two, before Culps found a cutting Smith-Francis.

The lead was cut to two again, but Culps came up clutch with a much-needed 3-pointer, giving a big spark to the White Buffalos.

Jackie Zamora-Heath hit a baseline floater and Smith-Francis hit a pair of free throws and Madras took a 9-point lead, before Molalla called a timeout with 1:27 left.

Culps' three was the turning point of the game and the Buffalos cruised to the finish line for the 71-59 victory..

"I was so scared and couldn't believe this was our last time on this court together," Culps said. "We worked very hard the day before and we just head to keep pushing because we are so short on girls. It was a big conditioning practice."

"This was a very important game," she said. "I wanted to make sure we keep playing. I was shocked when I made that shot (3-pointer). We have been working so hard and I just kept shooting. "We need to keep working hard and strive for the better."

STEELE HAUGEN - Jiana Smith-Francis scored 14 points for the Lady Buffs on Thursday. Madras will likely have a state playoff game and travel on the road.Davis was the leading scorer with 21 points and senior Culps finished the night with 15 points. Smith-Francis was behind her with 14 points of her own.

"It has been fun coaching this senior group," said Say. "It was my first year coaching them and their last year playing here, so it has taken a little bit of time to build that player-coach relationship. We are at a place now where we are all having a good time, working hard and understanding each other."

Madras celebrated five seniors on senior night: Vanessa Culps, Monika Stacona, Erika Olivera, Chloe Smith and Jackie Zamora-Heath.

"The seniors that were able to play, played hard and the ones on the bench supporting, were more like a coach, the way they were participating," said Say. "They were another voice, helping the girls understand what was going on, when they could. The underclassmen really helped those seniors get a win and it was a good effort by everyone to send the seniors off the right way."

Gladstone comes back

The girls also played at Gladstone and started the game off with a bang, outscoring the Gladiators 20-8 in the first quarter. However, Madras went ice cold in the second, only scoring three points and went into halftime only up 23-16.

Gladstone came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring Madras 18-10, tying the game at 33-33 heading into the final frame.

The Gladiators took a two-point lead with 12 seconds left to play and Madras had a chance to tie or win the game. Several Lady Buffs had open shots towards the end of the game, but no one could decide who should take the last shot, as the Buffalos lost to the Gladiators 51-59.

"We really only had seven girls that game," Say said. "I noticed having a shorter bench and more players getting more minutes, the girls were getting tired at the end of the game. Gladstone was really chipping away at the lead at the end. We just could not finish the game because we were so tired and had some foul trouble."

Estacada on Tuesday

Madras (14-8) traveled to Estacada (4-19) on Tuesday (Feb. 19), passed the Madras Pioneer deadline. If Madras wins, they will likely have a state playoff game.

"The way we sit right now being in second place (TVC) and in the top 12, we will probably skip the play-in round and move on the the first round of the state playoffs," Say said. "We are basically in state right now with the way everything sits. We will know for sure after the games this week and everything will start to clear up pretty quick."

"I really think we will play at Philomath, but things will shake out completely soon. We also might play Stayton or Hidden Valley," said Say.

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