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Bulldogs rout La Grande to claim first title since 2000
The loud roar from the Baker locker room and the smiles on the players’ faces told the story Tuesday evening in the Baker gym.
Dallas Defrees scored 7 points Tuesday as Baker beat La Grande to win the Greater Oregon League title. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
The Baker girls had just defeated La Grande 51-31 to claim their first Greater Oregon League championship since 2000.
“This means a lot,” said senior Tara Talbott.
“We hadn’t won it in so long. We all get along so well. We pull for each other.”
Talbott said the victory was especially sweet after Baker suffered through two straight road losses. Baker would have clinched the league championship by winning either of those games.
“That makes it a lot better knowing we’re back,” she said.
“This feels absolutely wonderful,” said a smiling Tim Smith, Baker’s coach.
“We couldn’t have wanted it any different. To win it at home, we couldn’t ask for anything better.
“The girls came out and played a real solid game,” Smith said. “These girls deserve this title. I’m just ecstatic for them.”
The championship means Baker will host a Class 4A state second-round game March 7. It is the first time since the GOL changed from a district playoff format that the Baker girls have hosted a state playoff game.
Smith said the difference against La Grande was defensive pressure. Baker forced 42 La Grande turnovers while committing just 18 of its own.
“We executed pretty well after the first quarter,” Smith said. “I’m so proud of these girls.”
Baker fell behind 4-2 in the first quarter, then scored the final eight points of the period to take a 10-4 lead at the break. Dallas Defrees led the way with four points. Aly Ogan added three.
Then, after La Grande pulled within 13-10 with 3:23 left in the first half, Baker went on an 11-2 tear to take a 24-12 halftime edge. Mackenzie Warner led the charge with seven points. Talbott added four.
La Grande made a brief run to start the third quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 7-1 in the first three minutes.
Baker then answered with nine straight points of its own to build the lead back to 34-19. Talbott had five of those points. Savannah Daly and Ashley Shively each added a basket.
Warner led Baker with 12 points. Talbott added 10, and Ogan nine.
Baker 10 14 17 10 — 51
La Grande (31) — Good 5 2-4 12, Tracy, Aldred, Mitchell, Jenkins 1 1-2 3, Tsiatsos, Petty 3 0-0 7, Mackay 1 0-0 2, Brown 1 0-0 2, Martin 0 0-1 0, Sain 1 3-4 5. Totals 12 6-11 31.
Baker (51) — Warner 4 3-4 12, Defrees 3 1-2 7, Ward, Adams, Shively 1 0-0 2, Phillips 0 1-2 1, Daly 2 0-0 4, Harlow 0 2-2 2, Hoopes 1 2-4 4, Brown, Talbott 2 6-9 10, Ogan 2 5-6 9. Totals 15 20-29 51.
Three-point goals — Petty, Warner. Fouled out — Jenkins. Total fouls — La Grande 19, Baker 17. Technicals — none.