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Madras White Buffalo boys basketball placed third at tournament, senior Dapri Miller win tourney MVP

SUBMITTED PHOTO - After the Madras boys basketball team lost to Cottage Grove, they beat Astoria and Seaside to place third at at the Seaside Holiday Tournament Dec. 19-21. Dapri Miller, middle holding trophy, won the tournament's most valuable player.
The Madras boys basketball teams lost a heartbreaking game to the 6A Bend Lava Bears at home Dec. 17.

A foul call with just .02 second remaining gave the Lava Bears a chance a to win it at the line, and they did, 43-42.

Madras and Bend both played tight defense in the first half. The score was just 4-4 at the end of the first quarter and Bend had a 16-15 lead at halftime.

In the second half, both teams were able to find ways to score. Near the end of the third quarter, Dylan Heath made a tough lay-in to give the Buffs a 27-21 lead, but Bend was able to hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter to cut the lead to 27-24, heading into the final quarter of play.

The Lava Bears went on a quick 5-0 run to start the fourth quarter taking a lead for the first time since the second quarter. Derrek Main answered with a 3-pointer that gave Madras the lead back at 30-29.

The contest remained close throughout the final quarter and with around two minutes left, the Buffs' Dapri Miller made a great move to get to the rim. The Lava Bears were able to then score on an open jumpshot and tie the game at 40-40.

Miller sank two free throws to give Madras a two-point lead, but Bend was able to score on a post move with 27 seconds left and head coach Nick Brown called a timeout with the game tied at 42.

Back on the court, the White Buffalos lost the ball and both the Buffs and Lava Bears dove to the ground, fighting for control. A jump ball was called and Bend was awarded the ball with 14 seconds left.

The Lava Bears shot a 3-pointer with short time left, but it was off the mark. The Lava Bears grabbed an offensive rebound and put up one last shot that fell short. However, with just 0.02 seconds left, a foul was called on the Buffs and Bend's Ethan Starling went to the line to shoot two free throws.

Starling made the first of his two free throws, and that was enough to come away with a 43-42 victory over the White Buffalos.

The White Buffalos traveled to Seaside to play in the Seaside Holiday Tournament Dec. 19-21 and won two of three games, placing third at the tournament. Senior Dapri Miller was named the tournament's MVP.

Madras played Cottage Grove first and came out slow as Cottage Grove jumped out to an early 9-0 run to start the game. Near the end of the first quarter, Donnie Bagley hit a 3-pointer, followed by a made basket by Jesse McDonald.

The Buffs were down 16-10 to start the second quarter.

Madras and Cottage Grove both score 13 points in the second quarter and Madras went into halftime down 29-23.

The Buffalos kept fighting in the third quarter, but was never able to take the lead away from Cottage Grove. Cottage Grove outscored Madras 13-8 in the third quarter and the Buffs were down 42-31 to start the final quarter of play.

With short time left in the game, Madras was down by 15, but was able to go on a run to close out the game. Main hit a 3-pointer and Miller hit five free throws and a 3-pointer as Madras went on an 11-0 run.

Cottage Grove scored one basket to end the run and seal a 50-44 victory over Madras.

Miller had 22 points for the Buffs and Bagley ended the game with nine.

"This was a good test for us," head coach Nick Brown said. "We did not come ready to play and we really turned up the intensity the last four minutes to make it a game, but it was too little, too late."

Madras played Astoria in their next tournament game and came away with a 53-52 victory of the Fisherman.

The Buffalos jumped out to an early 10-2 lead to start the game. A few plays later a 3-pointer by Miller gave Madras a 17-8 lead and were able to outscore Astoria 20-12 in the first quarter.

The Fisherman went on an 8-2 run to start the second quarter, cutting the Buffs lead down to two.

Near the end of the second quarter, Madras held on to a small 24-23 lead, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Miller gave Madras a 30-23 lead. Astoria was able to score before the end of the half and Madras had a 30-25 lead.

Astoria cut the Madras lead down to three in the third quarter, but another 3-pointer by Miller kept the Fisherman at bay. Near the end of the quarter, Miller hit another 3-pointer and Madras had a 44-36 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Fisherman came out strong in the fourth quarter, going on a 12-3 run and taking a 48-47 lead over Madras. The game remained close and as Astoria was looking to pull away, Miller hit another big 3-pointer to tie the game at 52-52 with short time left.

After the 3-pointer, Astoria had some chances to take back the lead, but went 0-4 from the free throw line.

Dylan Heath was fouled at the end of the game and made one of two free throws, giving Madras a one point lead. The Buffs were fouled again, but Madras missed two free throws in a row. Astoria had one last chance to win, but missed a shot at the end of the game as Madras came away with a 53-52 win.

Miller led the Buffalos in scoring with 33 points. Jordan Mitchell scored six points for Madras.

"We played really well the majority of the game, but started to struggle late in the fourth quarter," Brown said. "Dylan Heath made one of two free throws and that ended up making the difference. We made some key stops down the stretch to not give up any points the last minute or so. They had a shot to win the game at the end and we got the stop."

Madras played the Corbett Cardinals in their final tournament game, a team they are very familiar with, since both the Buffalos and Cardinals are in the Tri-Valley Conference.

The Buffs were able to beat Corbett 51-40 and move to 3-5 on the year.

"This was one of our more complete games from start to finish," said Brown. "We came out with a lot of energy and effort. We were able to execute a bit on offense, but it was really our defense that was so much better today. We were flying around, in the right positioning and did a great job on their good players."

"I think this was a great opportunity to grow against some good 4A competition," he said. "It was not only growing on the floor, but off the floor as well. We took some steps with our chemistry and team building. This is always great to come here and do some of those things."

Madras is 2-2 this year against 4A competition and 1-3 against 5A and 6A teams this season.

Madras travels to La Pine to face the 3A Hawks at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27. They travel to Summit High School in Bend for another Holiday tournament Dec. 28-29.

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