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Madras White Buffalos boys basketball beats The Dalles, loses to Hood River Valley at home tournament.

STEELE HAUGEN - Dapri Miller drives hard to the rim during the Buffs 69-62 victory over 5A The Dalles Dec. 13. Miller scored 33 poins in the game to help Madras earn their first win of the seasonThe Madras White Buffalo boys basketball team won their first game of the season, beating the bigger 5A The Dalles 69-62 at their home tournament Dec. 13.

Dapri Miller had a great game for Madras, scoring 33 of the Buffs' 69 points. Miller and the entire Buffalo team found great success driving hard to the rim, attacking The Dalles' defense.

"We were able to execute on offense," said Miller about the game. "Offense was a huge key. Everyone always underestimates us because of how small we are. It is tough, but we handle it well and was able to get some good rebounds. Our focus tonight was defense. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Our defense stepped up tonight and we were two steps ahead of where we have been. We really executed on both sides of the ball."

Madras jumped out to a 7-0 lead right out of the gate, but the Riverhawks started to make a comeback, and a 3-pointer by Jaxen Pullen put the Buffs' lead down to 14-13.

At the end of the first quarter, Cole White hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and Madras took a 19-13 lead heading into the second quarter.

A hard drive to the rim by Derrek Main, followed by a 3-pointer by Miller gave Madras a large 24-13 lead to start the quarter. The Dalles were in the bonus with 4:31 left in the half and were forcing Madras to commit several fouls. Madras could not keep the Riverhawks away from the stripe but were still attacking the rim with force on offense.

The White Buffalos had a small 32-30 lead over the Riverhawks at halftime.

Madras came out aggressive at the start of the second half and a back cut by Jordan Mitchell led to an easy bucket, giving the Buffs a 38-30 lead.

The Dalles were still fighting, hard and a spin and finish at the rim cut the Buffs' lead down to four. The Riverhawks called a timeout with 3:45 left in the quarter.

After the timeout, Madras went on a 6-0 run, and The Dalles called another timeout with 1:59 left in the third quarter. The White Buffalos had a 48-39 lead heading into the last quarter of play.

With 3:53 left in the game, the Riverhawks decided to press the Buffs, which played right into Madras' speed and athleticism. Madras easily broke the press and continued to attack the basketball, either getting to the free throw line or finishing at the rim.

The Madras lead forced The Dalles to foul at the end of the game, but the Buffs did a good job making shots at the stripe, sealing the 69-62 victory.

"Our game plan was just to get to the hoop as much as we can," Miller said. "Over the past couple years, we have been known for 3-pointers and lay-ups. Getting to the basket really helped us because they got into foul trouble, and coach Brown always tells us to get to the line, and that is what we did tonight."

"Drive and get some contact, that is what it is, getting to the free throw line," he said. "We like 3-pointers, but now we love two's and getting to the line. My teammates helped me score tonight. When I would throw up a bad shot, they just told me to get the next one. I miss shots, they miss shots and, honestly, I don't know, I just have to thank my teammates for getting me open on the perimeter, finding me cutting for lay-ups, the spacing, I owe it all to them."

Big second half by Hood River

After Madras' victory over The Dalles at the White Buffalo Classic, they were matched up with 5A Hood River Valley, who beat La Grande 56-48 right before the Buffs beat the Riverhawks.

Again, the Buffs jumped out to a fast start, taking an 8-0 lead. Hood River quickly cut the Madras lead down to one, making the score 8-7.

After the small run by Hood River, Madras went on a 9-1 run to end the quarter, taking a 17-8 lead in the first quarter.

In the second quarter a 3-pointer by Donnie Bagley gave Madras a 23-10 lead. The quarter continued and Miller hit a big three, giving the Buffs a 28-16 lead.

Madras and Hood River battled to the halftime buzzer, and the White Buffalos were up by nine heading into the third quarter.

Hood River came out with a vengeance in the third quarter, outscoring the Buffs 27-12. Madras was down 52-48 at the end of the period.

Hood River kept up their momentum and outscored Madras 18-11 in the final quarter.

Madras was outscored 45-23 in the second half and fell to Hood River 70-59.

The Buffalos travel to Seaside for a holiday tournament Dec. 19-21.

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