Madras boys basketball began its week in convincing fashion.
The White Buffalos established an early lead Wednesday versus Molalla that ended in a 80-57 blowout. Four players — Damean Frank, Lewis Fine, Kanim Smith and Byron Patt — reached double figures in scoring.
The Buffs outscored the Indians in every quarter of the game, only a week after they demolished Crook County 69-36.
Friday, however, Madras was reminded of where it stands next to the top two Tri-Valley Conference teams in Gladstone and Estacada. Madras faced an Estacada team that it had previously lost to.
Although the Buffs put up a fight, a make or break third quarter saw them facing a 15-point deficit entering the final period that was too much to overcome. The Rangers were led by Sam Blankenship's 25 points and Logan Brooks, who added 18.
The loss put to rest a slim chance for the Buffs to win the league title, but they still have a good shot at a playoff berth. The top three teams in the TVC standings earn play-in games, and as of now, the Buffs would have that third and final spot.
Their position is far from secure though. Crook County (3-16, 3-4) has an identical league record, but its winless non conference mark gives Madras the tiebreaker should one be needed. The two teams will face off in Prineville next Tuesday in the last game of the regular season. Although Madras has already beaten the Cowboys twice this season, getting a league win on the road won't be easy.
Next, Madras will look to get revenge at home Thursday against Corbett, which the Buffs narrowly lost to in overtime, 61-58, on Jan. 27.
Follow him on Twitter @WillCDenner