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An old saying in most team sports is “the best offense is a tough defense.” Baker proved that Saturday in a non-league girls basketball game against Kuna, Idaho, in the Baker gym.
Baker’s Whitney Phillips goes up for a rebound over a Kuna defender Saturday in the Bulldogs’ 38-25 non-league victory. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
The Bulldogs’ offense struggled in the first half, but their defense prevented Kuna from taking advantage. Baker then broke the game open in the fourth quarter on the way to a 38-25 win.
“I thought our defense kept us in the game when our offense struggled a little in the first half,” said Baker coach Tim Smith.
“We led at halftime, built on it in the third quarter, then kind of let them back into it.”
Baker led 16-12 at halftime, and 23-18 after three quarters. Kuna pulled within 23-22 two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Baker then went on a 15-0 run over the next five minutes to pull away. Kuna didn’t hit a field goal in the final eight minutes until connecting on a three-point shot with one second left in the game.
“We put the press on them and that kind of started our run in the fourth quarter,” Smith said. “Our conditioning also played a role.”
All but one Bulldog scored in the game.
“We need everybody to get involved,” Smith said. “We just need to take care of business.”
Baskets by Whitney Phillips, Savannah Daly and Dallas Defrees gave Baker a quick 6-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bulldogs led 6-2 at the break.
Three points by Mackenzie Warner and another Defrees hoop boosted Baker up 11-2 a minute into the second period.
Kuna then rallied to get within 11-10 before a Morgan Ward three-pointer and a basket by Ashley Shively helped Baker take a 16-12 halftime advantage.
Baker still led 23-18 after three quarters. Kuna then hit four straight free throws to start the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 23-22.
Warner then scored five points, Defrees four, and Kristen Hoopes three to lead the 15-0 spurt to break the game open.
Warner and Defrees each finished with eight points to lead a balanced Baker scoring attack.
Baker (1-1) travels to Pendleton Tuesday.
Baker 6 10 7 15 — 38
Kuna (25) — Ericson 2 0-0 4, Arizana, Denton 0 0-2 0, Caldwell 2 2-3 6, Peterson 1 2-3 5, Larsen 1 2-2 4, Law 3 0-0 6, Young. Totals 9 6-10 25.
Baker (38) — Warner 2 4-6 8, Defrees 4 0-0 8, Ward 1 0-0 3, Adams 0 1-2 1, Shively 1 0-0 2, Phillips 1 1-2 3, Daly 2 0-0 4, Hoopes 1 1-3 3, Talbott 1 4-5 6, Ogan. Totals 13 11-18 38.
Three-point goals — Peterson, Ward. Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Kuna 14, Baker 16. Technicals — none.