Madras — Fresh off a 2021 Tri-Valley Conference Championship, the Madras White Buffaloes entered 2022 somehow or another as an underdog in the conference. It was presumed that Gladstone or Corbett would win the conference, with Madras getting into the playoffs as an at-large bid from their OSAA ranking. After knocking off both teams this past week, Madras has not only proved their legitimacy, but have made it clear that they aren’t settling for anything less than a conference title. This should put all of 4A on notice about the White Buffaloes, Corbett and Gladstone learned that the hard way.
Currently riding an eight-game winning streak, the White Buffaloes are hitting their groove at the perfect time, boasting a 6-0 record in Tri-Valley Conference with a pair of wins over Top 10 teams in Corbett and Gladstone. Things were rough in the early go, with the White Buffaloes struggling to be efficient in half-court offensive and defensive sets. With a record of 3-7, Madras blew up the plan and transformed themselves into a full-court pressure defense that converts turnovers and stops into points in transition. The result has been remarkable: Going from averaging 45.2 points a game and allowing 50.7 points per game to scoring 56.7 points and allowing 38.8 points. This turnaround has contributed to an eight-game winning streak that has brought Madras out of the gutter and into the 4A spotlight.
The 180-degree scheme change better suits the White Buffaloes, who have used their stamina and scrappiness to wear down their opponents. Sasha Esquiro and Rylan Davis were major contributors in the upsets of Corbett and Gladstone, both playing pivotal roles offensively in different games. Esquiro had 19 points in the win over Corbett, while Davis had a strong 14-point performance against the Gladiators, including 13 points in the second half to close out the win over Gladstone.
Their last two games of the season are a Friday Senior Night date with Corbett and a visit to a roaring Gladstone crowd for the Gladiator Senior Night three days later. Regardless of the result against Corbett, the Monday showdown will ultimately decide the winner of the Tri-Valley Conference. However, the White Buffaloes have business to take care of against North Marion and Estacada, two teams that Madras easily cruised past in their first meetings. If their success sustains entering the state playoffs, Madras could create some chaos in the 4A playoffs and make a run to Forest Grove in March. Watch out for Madras, they are out hunting and are fearless in their pursuit.
Footnote: The header image is courtesy of Andy Dieckhoff from the Madras Sports Pioneer!