Bulldogs defeat La Grande
Baker and La Grande have had a hard-fought rivalry for what seems like forever.
The two teams renewed that rivalry Friday in the Baker gym in a Greater Oregon League boy sbasketball contest.
When the final horn sounded Baker (4-0 in the GOL) kept its league record perfect by rallying for a 59-51 victory. Baker has not lost a GOL game in more than two seasons.
"That was as good a ballgame as you'll see anywhere in Oregon on a Friday night," said Baker coach Joel Richardson.
"Both teams did some great things. And, I love our student body, the way they come out and support us."
Dillon Blankenship, Braden Phillips and Jordan Curtis combined to score 50 of Baker's 59 points.
"Dillon, Jordan and Braden compliment each other so well," Richardson said. "And Trent Taylor is our lockdown type of guy on defense."
Baker trailed 28-24 at halftime, mostly due to the fact that La Grande hit seven three-point baskets in the first half. That was six more than the Tigers hit in an earlier game against the Bulldogs at La Grande.
"That's 18 more points La Grande had from the three-point line tonight," Richardson said.
Phillips then scored seven of his 15 points in the third quarter to help the Bulldogs pull ahead 43-41 entering the final eight minutes.
La Grande opened the fourth quarter on a 6-3 run to take its last lead, 47-46, with about seven minutes left in the game.
Another Phillips basket gave Baker the lead for good with 6:13 left.
Blankenship, who finished with 24 points, then added back-to-back baskets for a 52-47 Baker cushion.
La Grande managed to pull within a point, 52-51, with 4:13 remaining.
But again Baker answered.
Blankenship scored on a layin. Colten Richards then added another layin on a give-and-go play from Curtis.
Richardson was particularly pleased with the way Curtis and Phillips played despite being in foul trouble.
"Both those guys really played great in foul trouble," he said.
Richardson also was pleased with the Bulldogs free throw shooting and turnovers. Baker was 12-of-15 from the line and had just nine turnovers.
"I thought our free throw shooting was good, and having just nine turnovers was a huge, huge facor for us," the Baker coach said.
Baker again has a busy week ahead. The Bulldogs play Mac-Hi in a home-and-hme situation Tuesday and Friday.
Tuesday's game at Milton-Freewater is a makeup game for one postponed Jan. 21. Friday, the Bulldogs host Mac-Hi.
Baker then hosts Umatilla in a nonleague game Saturday.
LA GRANDE (51)
Wicklander 1 0-2 3, Madsen 2 0-0 4, Sofe 0 1-2 1, Humber 3 0-0 9, Ackerman 8 2-2 21, Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Goss 1 5-8 7, Stone 2 0-1 4, Rogers. Totals 18 8-15 51.
Richards 2 0-0 5, Hamilton 1 0-0 2, Phillips 7 1-2 15, Blankenship 8 8-9 24, Taylor 0 2-2 2, Curtis 4 1-2 11. Totals 22 12-15 59.
La Grande 16
Three-point baskets — Wicklander, Humber 3, Ackerman 3, Richards, Curtis 2. Fouled out —Phillips. Total fouls —La Grande 14, Baker 13. Techincals —none.