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Blankenship, Richardson lead four Bulldogs in double figures in 77-68 win
Baker picked a great time to play one of its best all-around basketball games of the season Tuesday evening at BHS. The Bulldogs kicked their overall game up a notch and stopped North Bend 77-68 in the first round of the Class 4A state boys basketball playoffs.
Baker guard Jesse Brown found himself surrounded by North Bend players Jake Lucero, Sam Lynass (12) Trae Collins (33), and, in back, Sean Jany. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
“The kids had a good week of practice,” said Baker coach Craig Woods.
“With the junior varsity kids we brought up it allowed our regular seven or eight guys to practice as a unit more than we have all season. That was probably one of the factors tonight.”A couple of Woods’ players went a step further.
“We were playing team ball,” said junior Derek Blankenship, who finished with 19 points.
Blankenship had a trio of three-pointers among his eight baskets. He shot them when he was open, but didn’t necessarily look for the threes.
“They came in the flow of the game,” he said. “It’s really easy to get open when your teammates are finding you.”
Trace Richardson, one of the first Bulldogs off the bench, saw extended minutes early when Dekker Smith went to the bench in foul trouble. Richardson picked the right time to record his best game of the season. The high-leaping junior equaled Blankenship’s output with 19 points of his own. He also connected on three three-pointers.
“I thought my shot felt good tonight,” Richardson said. “I just went with the flow of the game.
“I thought our guys off the bench brought a lot of energy tonight. We’re pretty deep on our bench, and we pick each other up.”
“When our starters get in foul trouble it’s nice to see our reserves come in and play well,” Blankenship said.
Baskets by Blankenship and Kennan Richards, and a three-pointer by Walker Kaseberg, gave Baker a quick 7-2 lead in the first quarter. But at the same time Smith picked up his second foul with 5:37 left in the period and went to the bench.
North Bend chipped away at Baker’s lead and eventually took a 15-11 edge with 1:23 left in the quarter.
That’s when Baker got red hot.
During the next seven minutes Baker outscored the visiting Bulldogs 17-0 to build a 28-15 cushion midway through the second period.
Richardson accounted for 10 of those points in the run, and Blankenship five. B.J. Quintana, who also saw large minutes off the bench, added two of his 10 points.
Blankenship added five more points down the stretch as Baker constructed a 39-31 halftime advantage.
Baker shot 47 percent in the first half, 17-of-36, and had nine assists. Richardson and Blankenship each finished the half with 12 points.
North Bend shot 44 percent from the field, 12-of-27.
North Bend cut the deficit to 39-35 early in the third quarter before Baker answered.
Baskets by Kaseberg, and by Blankenship off a feed from Kaseberg, built the lead back to 43-36. Then, leading 45-40, Jesse Brown, Kaseberg and Richards all had baskets to boost the lead to 51-40 midway through the third quarter.
North Bend then made another brief run to cut the deficit to 51-47 before Richardson ended the period with another three-point basket.
Baker led 54-47 at the break.
Blankenship added another “three” to start the final period.
Smith then got into the scoring column by adding a pair of baskets inside off passes from Brown and Kaseberg. Blankenship found Kaseberg for a basket inside, Richardson scored off a rebound, and Quintana added a three-point play off another offensive rebound.
That surge built Baker’s lead to 13 points. North Bend could get no closer than nine after that.
Baker finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field, 31-of-64. North Bend shot 43 percent, 26-of-61.
Baker now will hit the road to the Grants Pass area to play Hidden Valley Friday evening. Game time has not been determined.
Baker 21 18 15 23 — 77
North Bend (68) — Winfield, Jany 3 0-0 6, Iveans 3 0-0 7, L. Lucero 1 0-0 3, Lynass 6 0-0 14, J. Lucero 7 4-5 22, Mattecheck, Mateski 0 2-2 2, Collins 6 2-6 14, Harris. Totals 26 8-13 68.
Baker (77) — Kaseberg 4 4-4 13, Brown 1 0-1 2, Richards 3 2-2 8, Adams, Smith 3 0-0 6, Richardson 8 0-0 19, Quintana 4 2-3 10, Blankenship 8 0-0 19, Barr. Totals 31 8-10 77.
Three-point goals — Iveans, Lynass 2, J. Lucero 4, Kaseberg, Richardson 3, Blankenship 3. Fouled out — none. Total fouls — North Bend 17, Baker 15. Technicals — none.