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Ontario tops Baker to clinch crown

Baker needs win at Mac-Hi to take second

Baker’s last chance to finish second in the Greater Oregon League girls basketball standings will hinge on the outcome of the final two regular-season games Friday.

Ontario clinched the GOL regular-season title Tuesday by defeating the Bulldogs 49-41 at BHS. The loss dropped Baker’s league record to 4-4. However, Mac-Hi defeated La Grande 46-43, giving La Grande a 4-4 record as well.

Baker must defeat Mac-Hi Friday at Milton-Freewater and hope Ontario beats La Grande. That would give Baker second place.

If that happens, Baker would host a second round district game Feb. 25 against either La Grande or Mac-Hi. If Baker loses Friday, or La Grande upsets Ontario, Baker would host Mac-Hi in a first-round district game Feb. 23.

“We have to refocus and get back on track against Mac-Hi,” said Baker coach Tim Smith.

Baker has defeated the Pioneers in two previous meetings this season.

Baker sends small group to state swimming meet

Baker will send two individuals and a relay team to the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state swim meet Friday and Saturday at the Mount Hood Community College Aquatic Center in Gresham.

Annie Martin advances to state in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle, and Kim Pointer in the 100 breaststroke.

Martin placed third in both events at the district meet last weekend at La Grande. Martin had a time of 2:29.66 in the 200 IM, and 6:02.36 in the 500 freestyle.

Pointer placed third in the 100 breaststroke at district with a 1:21.62 clocking.

That duo, along with Tonita Britt, Courtney Raley, Raven Shipsey, Marissa Ermovick, Aryel Fahrney and Jasmine Fillebrown, advanced in the 200 freestyle relay. Baker finished second at district with a time of 1:53.45.

Tickets are $8 adults and $5 students each session.

La Grande rallies to beat Baker — again

Talk about deja vu.

Baker had to be thinking along those lines Friday evening after La Grande rallied from 19 points down to defeat the Bulldogs 49-46 and earn the regular-season Greater Oregon League boys basketball title.

La Grande (7-0 in the GOL) has defeated the Bulldogs (4-3) three times during the GOL season. Last month at BHS, the Tigers rallied from 18 points down to top Baker 62-58.

Friday, at La Grande, the Tigers were held scoreless in the second quarter, and trailed 24-5 at halftime. La Grande then outscored Baker 44-22 in the second half.

Baker coach Craig Woods said it was a lack of rebounding by the Bulldogs that led to the turnaround.

“The thing that changed was offensive rebounds,” Woods said.

The Baker coach said La Grande outrebounded the Bulldogs by 13. The Tigers grabbed 14 offensive rebounds, 13 in the second half.

“We just can’t have that,” Woods said. “We shot better, had fewer turnovers, more assists, but they outrebounded us. I burned my timeouts trying to come up with an answer.”

Baker managed just seven total rebounds in the second half.

La Grande puts damper on Baker girls title hopes

La Grande threw a monkey wrench into Baker’s Greater Oregon League girls basketball title hopes Friday, rallying to defeat the Bulldogs 37-35 at La Grande.

The result leaves Baker and La Grande tied for second in the GOL with 4-3 records, a game behind Ontario (5-2) with two games left in the regular season.

“Tuesday is kind of a must win game for us if we still want to reach our goal of winning the league and getting a higher seed at district,” said Baker coach Tim Smith.

“If we can beat Ontario, Ontario can take care of La Grande on Friday and we can beat Mac-Hi we could still win the league.”

Friday, Baker led La Grande 31-24 after three quarters, but couldn’t hold the Tigers off.

Breanna Partney and Shayla Powers each scored four points to help La Grande regain a 34-33 lead with 3:10 left in the game. It was the Tigers first lead since midway through the second period.

Partney added a free throw with 59 seconds left to give La Grande a 35-33 edge.

Baker rallied to tie the game at 35-35 when Ashley Trees hit a shot with 33 seconds left.

La Grande then made two free throws down the stretch for the winning margin. Baker had one last chance to tie the game with less than five seconds left but Mackenzie Warner missed the front end of a one-plus-one free throw and La Grande rebounded.

Dawgs compete at Pendleton

PENDLETON — Baker’s middle school wrestlers competed at the Pendleton tournament last week.

All but one Baker wrestler won at least one match each.

“We wrestled really well,” said Baker coach Ray Uriarte.

Baker, Spartans shine at Pine-Eagle Invitational

Pine-Eagle wrestlers earned two individual firsts, and Baker one Saturday at the annual Pine-Eagle Invitational in Halfway.

Pine-Eagle’s Kyle Dennis (160 pounds) and Richie Gonzales (171) earned individual firsts for the Spartans.

Andrew Porter (130) was Baker’s individual champion.

Dennis drew two byes before pinning Ismahel Mendoza of Homedale in the semifinals. Dennis then won by 16-1 technical fall over Adrian’s Daniel Lode in the title match.

Gonzales drew a first-round bye before defeating Melba’s Fabian Medrano by 20-8 tech fall. Gonzales then defeated Baker’s Wyatt Duncan 7-1 in the semifinals before topping Middleton’s Lane Chadwick 16-9 in the championship match.

Porter also drew a first-round bye before pinning Melba’s Alex Webb in the first round. Porter also pinned Crane’s Cody Davis in the first round in the semis. Porter then defeated Middleton’s Joe Roseberry 9-0 to win the championship.

Baker had eight other wrestlers place in their weight, and Pine-Eagle seven.

College coach gives young arms basic pitching lessons

About a dozen young Baker pitchers learned the art of pitching Saturday morning at the Baker Bulldog Winter Pitching Clinic.

The clinic was conducted by Rob Hippi, pitching coach at Lower Columbia Community College in Longview, Wash.

Hippi has spent 22 years at LCC and has been part of four championship teams and seven runner-up squads. Under Hippi, the Devils have led the NWACC in strikeout/walk ratio in all but two of the past 14 seasons.

Hippi played collegiate ball at Central Washington University, and pitched professionally in the New York Yankees organization from 1969-1972.

He also has coached two Longview teams to the Babe Ruth World Series.

Hippi has worked at several camps and speaks at clinics throughout the Pacific Northwest.

“If I know my mechanics then I’m going to throw more strikes,” Hippi told the young hurlers.

Burnt River ends regular season

UNITY — The Burnt River girls split and the boys lost a pair of games last weekend in the final regular-season games of the High Desert League season.

Burnt River traveled to Adrian Friday. The girls had trouble from the start. The Antelopes’ press often kept Burnt River from getting the ball down the court and held the Lady Bulls to just two points in the first quarter.

With the preasure called off in the second half, Burnt River was able to get back into the game. Final score was 56-32 Adrian.

The Burnt River boys kept the game close for the first half, down by only four at halftime, but foul trouble and inability to score in the third quarter allowed the Antelope to pull away and win 63-36. Caleb Andrews and Harry Szu-Yao Su led the Bulls with 15 points each.

Mac-Hi Pioneers roll over Bulldogs

Bulldogs win just once against Pioneers

Mac-Hi spoiled Baker’s final home wrestling match Thursday by handing the Bulldogs a 66-3 thumping in the BHS gym.

Baker had to shuffle its lineup due to three wrestlers being ineligible because of grades, and another not making weight.

“We’re our own worst enemy,” said Baker coach Brandon Young.

“With three guys ineligible and another not making weight we had to change our lineup around.

“We knew it was a matter of time before it caught up to us. Hopefully we can rebound quickly. And, we were wrestling a top-notch team in Mac-Hi,” Young said.

Baker’s lone victory came at 112 pounds where Zach Valentine defeated Mac-Hi’s Jordan Leinbach 6-0.

Baker turns back Nyssa, 61-47

Baker tuned up for Friday’s Greater Oregon League contest at La Grande by edging Nyssa 61-47 in a non-league boys basketball game Tuesday at BHS.

Baker pulled ahead late in the first quarter then held Nyssa off the rest of the way.

Nyssa jumped out to a 10-4 lead before Baker battled back.

Derek Blankenship hit a three-pointer to pull Baker within 10-7. Then, after Nyssa scored again, Baker ran off 10 unanswered points to take the lead.

Blankenship led the way with five points. Jesse Brown added three and Dekker Smith two as Baker built a 17-12 lead. The Bulldogs led 17-14 at the break.

Four more points by Blankenship, two by B.J. Quintana, and one by Smith  opened the second period with a 7-0 Baker run to increase the lead to 24-14 with 4:55 left in the half.

Nyssa remained close the rest of the half, pulling to within 28-24 at the break.

Nyssa continued to hang around until 5:42 remained in the third period. That’s when Seth Glenn injured his ankle making a jumper from the corner that pulled Nyssa to within 34-28. Glenn was helped to the locker room, and did not return.

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