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Bulldog grapplers win Jo-Hi title

Maybe the Baker wrestling squad should skip practices more often. At least that strategy worked for the Bulldogs at the annual Jo-Hi tournament at Joseph High School Friday and Saturday.

The Bulldogs did not practice during the holiday break, then went out and won the Jo-Hi meet, edging Pomeroy, Wash., 166.5-146.5.

“I caught some flak for the decision not to practice,” said Baker coach Dee Gorrell. “But, now we’re all healed, all healthy and ready to go.”

The Bulldogs, who were second to Pomeroy after Friday’s action, finished with 13 wrestlers placing in their weight divisions to gain the title.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” Gorrell said. “Monday they made a goal that we would be first in the tournament. They battled the whole tournament and the kids spoke for themselves. We pulled it out in the championship round.”

Defense leads Baker girls to win

Baker braved icy roads to reach Emmett, Idaho, Tuesday afternoon, and it paid off in a 49-33 win in the non-league girls basketball game.

“It probably took us about 20 minutes more than usual to get to Emmett,” said Baker coach Tim Smith.

But once there, Baker’s defense was red hot.

“The girls played darn good defense throughout the game,” Smith said.

Despite the defensive effort Baker led just 32-31 after three quarters. Then the Bulldogs tightened the screws another step, limiting Emmett to just two fourth-quarter points.

Hilanders rally to nip Baker girls

Burns’ Mattea Zabala goes up for a shot over the defense of Baker’s Dallas Defrees during Saturday’s girls game at Baker. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Baker girls basketball coach Tim Smith is not fond of moral victories, but he was happy nonetheless Saturday.

Burns senior Courtney Toney scored on a short jump shot from the left baseline as the horn sounded Saturday to lift the Hilanders to a 39-38 victory over Baker in the non-league game at BHS.

Baker played a much stronger game than during an earlier 56-29 loss at Burns. In that game Toney and Mattea Zabala combined for 26 points. This time that duo tallied 16.

“We put a stop on them for the most part,” Smith said.

“Our defensive pressure tonight was as good as we can play.”

Baker trailed 34-29 with 1:04 left in the game, then kicked up the defensive pressure.

Defrees, Warner lead Baker by Kuna

Baker hadn’t played since before Christmas, so Coach Tim Smith was pleased when the Bulldogs defeated Kuna 44-32 Friday in a non-league girls basketball game at Kuna, Idaho.

“I thought the girls played well, particularly coming off the long break,” Smith said.

“We executed pretty well, and played great defense. And, we got some things to fall when we needed them to.”

Dallas Defrees and Mackenzie Warner each scored 11 points to lead the Bulldogs. Defrees added nine rebounds and six steals.

“Dallas had a great all-around game. She was all over the place,” Smith said.

Last-second shot sinks Bulldogs

Kuna scores winning basket with 1.5 seconds left in regulation

Baker’s Dekker Smith grabbed a rebound over the arms of Kuna’s Tyler Dubowsky Friday. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Kuna’s 6-foot-5 freshman post Tyler Dubowsky scored on a rebound in the center of the key with 1.5 seconds left to lift the Kavemen to a 52-51 victory over Baker in a non-league boys basketball game Friday at BHS.

“The ball just didn’t bounce our way,” said Baker coach Craig Woods. “The kid made the rebound and made the shot.”

Baker had a chance for the winning basket with 1 second left, but Walker Kaseberg’s desperation toss from three-quarters court was off the mark.

The game should never have been that close. Baker outscored the Kavemen from the field, but shot just 10-of-18 from the free throw line.

“Free throws. That was the difference in the game,” said Woods.

Baker is shooting in the mid-50-percent range from the line for the season — a figure Woods is not happy with.

Bulldogs roll past Burns to end skid

Baker ended a two-game losing streak Saturday by bolting to quick lead and stopping Burns 61-50 in a non-league boys basketball game at Burns.

Baker led 16-5 after one period, and had leads as large as 20 points in the first half.

“We jumped out on them, and used our defense well,” said Baker coach Craig Woods. “We defensed their posts really well.

“Overall our kids played a lot better, more consistent,” Woods added.

Dekker Smith led the Bulldogs with 12 points. Kennan Richards added 10.

Baker opens Greater Oregon League play Friday at Ontario. The Bulldogs then host Idaho power Fruitland on Saturday.

Baker swimmers earn three firsts

Charlotte Bowers leads Bulldogs with a pair of wins

Baker’s Gus Hansen finished third in the boys 200 freestyle event Thursday. The Bulldogs hosted La Grande in a dual meet at Sam-O Swim Center.(Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Baker and La Grande swimmers must be getting pretty used to each other. The two teams squared off Thursday at Sam-O Swim Center in a dual meet. The same two teams swam another dual five days earlier in La Grande.

Thursday, Baker varsity swimmers earned three first place awards.

Charlotte Bowers won the girls 200 freestyle (2:09.75) and 50 freestyle (27.39). Bowers, Kim Pointer, Annie Martin and Kim Countryman teamed to win the girls 200 medley relay in 2:09.80.

Last week, at La Grande, the Bulldogs earned four firsts.

Bowers again won the girls 200 freestyle (2:11.16) and 50 freestyle (27.67). Pointer won the girls 100 breaststroke (1:21.0).

That duo again joined Martin and Countryman in winning the girls 200 freestyle relay in 1:57.05.

Too many turnovers doom Baker girls

Bulldogs commit 35 turnovers in 60-55 loss to Grant Union

Tara Talbott, shown earlier in the season, and her Baker teammates lost a non-league girls basketball game to Grant Union Thursday in the Baker gym.(Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Baker girls basketball coach Tim Smith is looking for an answer to his club’s current losing streak.

The frustration continued to build Thursday after the Bulldogs’ streak grew to four straight with a 60-55 loss to Grant Union in the Baker gym.

“I’m puzzled as to what the answer is,” Smith said. “That’s what I told the girls.

“We had 35 turnovers. If we don’t take care of the basketball we’re going to struggle to win,” he said.

“We’re not comfortable in our game situations right now. We’re not transferring stuff from practice to game situations.”

Thursday’s result wouldn’t have been as close as it was had the Bulldogs not scored 23 points in the fourth quarter. Baker managed just 32 points in the other three periods.

The Bulldogs fell behind 5-0 in the first quarter before scoring seven of the final eight points for a 7-6 lead at the break.

Bulldogs top Weiser in OT

Baker outscores Wolverines 8-4 in extra period

Sophomore guard Jesse Brown and his Baker teammates needed overtime to subdue Weiser 60-56 Tuesday in the Baker gym. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
“We keep it exciting.”

That’s what Baker boys basketball coach Craig Woods said shortly after the Bulldogs nipped Weiser, Idaho, 60-56 in overtime Tuesday night in the Baker gym.

“Basketball is a game of momentum,” Woods said.

Woods was referring to a stretch in the third and fourth quarters when Baker held a 38-29 lead only to have Weiser battle back against the Bulldogs’ bench to knot the game at 48-48 with 3:49 left in regulation.

“We kind of gave (the momentum) up during that stretch,” Woods said. “But I wanted to see what those kids would do and they responded.

“The preseason is a learning tool. I’m still working on our rotation. Obviously if this had been a league game, say with La Grande, I wouldn’t have played it the same way.”

The overtime began knotted at 52-52. After the teams traded baskets, Dekker Smith’s free throw with 2:13 left gave Baker the lead for good at 55-54. Derek Blankenship then boosted the Baker lead to 57-54 after a nice assist from Smith on a cut to the basket.

Fruitland defeats Baker

Grizzlies outgun Bulldogs for non-league win

Kennan Richards and his Baker teammates suffered their first loss of the season Saturday at Fruitland, Idaho. (Baker City Herald file photo/Kathy Orr)
Baker was wishing the snowstorm that passed through the area Friday night had closed the freeway to Fruitland, Idaho, Saturday.

The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the young season, 62-45, in the boys non-league basketball game in the Fruitland gym.

“Fruitland is a very aggressive team,” said Baker coach Craig Woods.

“They outhustled us at both ends of the floor. They hustled for every single loose ball in the first half, and we didn’t.”

That led to a 33-19 halftime deficit for the Bulldogs.

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