Baker boys win GOL title
Baker successfully defended its Greater Oregon League boys basketball title Friday by defeating La Grande 67-57 at La Grande.
The Bulldogs, undefeated in the GOL in more than two seasons, ran this year's league record to 7-0 and 12-8 overall with the win. It also was the third time this season Baker has defeated La Grande.
"It's always tough beating a team three times in a season, especially when two of the games are at their place," said Baker coach Joel Richardson.
"I thouught our kids showed great character."
Richardson said the Bulldogs weren't perfect, but played well enough.
"I thought we lost our posie for about one minute with three minutes to go in the game," he said. "But we got that corrected quickly and got the win.
"We've now captured one of our two main goals this season," Richardson said.
"We wanted to win the GOL title, and now our second goal is to get to Gill Coliseum in March.
"The kids are really playing hard together," Richardson said. "We're peaking at the right time. That's when we want to play our best basketball."
Two baskets by Braden Phillips, and one by Dillon Blankenship, boosted Baker into a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Michael Humber got La Grande on the board with a three-pointer with 3:10 left in the quarter.
Bu, Baker's Jordan Curtis added a three-pointer of his own as Baker ended the period leading 9-3.
"I thought we really did a nice job of controlling how fast they got out of the gate," Richardson said. "We wanted to limit their three-point shooting, and I thought we defended the three-point line very well in the first half."
Phillips and Blankenship then each tallied six points in the second quarter as Baker took a 26-19 lead into the halftime locker room.
That duo combined for 15 points in the third quarter as Baker increased its lead to 49-39 at the break.
Blankenship then scored 12 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter.
Baker built its lead to 65-50 with about three minutes left in the game, then had a lull.
"We were up 65-50 and that's when we got careless," Richardson said.
"We talked after the game about how we have to finish games the same way we start them," he said.
Baker finished 23 of 64 from the field.
"We didn't shoot all t hat well, but we hit some big shots," Richardson said.
"Dillon had a nice second half, and Braden had another sollid game."
Phillips finished 19 points and 14 rebounds, his third straight game with a "double double" in points and rebounds.
Only four Bulldogs scored in the game. Curtis and Colten Richards each added 10 points to Blankenship and Phillips' totals.
Baker outrebounded the Tigers 40-21. Curtis and Blankenship each added seven rebounds.
Baker now will finish out the GOL season with a home game against Ontario Tuesday and a road game at Mac-Hi Friday. The Bulldogs will host a state playin game Feb. 25 against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
Richards 4 0-2 10, Bachman, Brooks, Hamilton, Phillips 6 5-7 19, Blankenship 9 8-10 28, Grammon, Taylor, Curtis 4 1-1 10. Totals 23 14-20 67.
LA GRANDE (57)
Wicklander 1 1-2 4, Madsen 1 0-1 3, Sofe 3 2-4 8, Humber 3 0-0 9, Ackerman 4 1-1 9, Jenkins 0 2-2 2, Goss 7 5-8 19, Stone 1 1-2 3, Rogers. Totals 20 12-20 57.
La Grande 3
Three-point baskets — Blankenship 2, Richards 2, Phillips 2, Curtis, Wicklander, Madsen, Humber 3. Fouled out —Wicklander. Total fouls —Baker 20, La Grande 18. Techincals —Curtis, Wicklander, La Grande Coach Carollo.