By GERRY STEELE
Of the Baker City Herald
Four games into the Greater Oregon League boys basketball season no one has been able to catch Baker. Two more GOL teams tried and failed during the weekend.
Baker (4-0 in the GOL) traveled to Ontario Friday and came home with a 55-47 victory. The Bulldogs then hosted Mac-Hi Saturday and took a 60-41 win. Next up is preseason favorite La Grande (3-0) at La Grande Friday.
andquot;I said before the season I thought six wins would get us a playoff berth, and we're two-thirds of the way there,andquot; said Baker coach Craig Woods. andquot;We just have to continue to take care of business.andquot; Big start against Mac-Hi
Baker trailed 5-4 midway through the first quarter against Mac-Hi. Then the Bulldogs exploded for 16 unanswered points to take control.
Matt Bunch got the ball rolling with eight straight points, including a pair of three-point bombs. Grant Johnson then added six straight points, including a three-pointer. Brett Smith's first basket completed the run.
Baker led 23-7 after one period, and 32-18 at halftime.
Three straight baskets from Smith sparked a 15-8 Baker third quarter to give Baker a 47-26 lead entering the final period.
Meanwhile, the Bulldog defense was all but shutting down Mac-Hi's 6-foot-4 Curtis Carlson. Carlson, who scored 43 points in a game last week, was held to just 11 points Saturday.
andquot;One of our keys was stopping Carlson, and I thought we did a good job of that,andquot; Woods said.
Woods said the Bulldogs' outside game helped counteract Mac-Hi's defensive strategy.
andquot;They were packing it in so tight inside that we had trouble getting the ball in there,andquot; Woods said. andquot;Then our guards hit some big shots opening it up for us.andquot;
Woods said Baker's patience also helped.
andquot;We weren't forcing stuff,andquot; he said. andquot;We were looking for open shots, and hitting them.andquot; Bunch led the Bulldogs with 13 points, all in the first half. Johnson added 11. All but one Bulldog scored in the game.
Bulldogs go bang at Ontario
Bunch hit a three-pointer, and Smith, Cliff DeMastus, and Matt Mullins two-pointers as Baker jumped to a 9-0 lead at Ontario Friday.
Bunch finished the first quarter with seven points, and Smith four as the Bulldogs built a 15-6 cushion.
As hot as they were in the first quarter, the Bulldogs cooled off just enough in the second period to let Ontario slip back to within 25-20 at halftime.
andquot;We pounded the ball inside, and they had no answer for us,andquot; Woods said. andquot;And, it didn't hurt that Matt was so hot outside.
andquot;In the second quarter we missed a few shots we shouldn't have, and we talked about keeping our composure at halftime.andquot; Baker responded with the first eight points of the third quarter four by DeMastus and two each from Bunch and Smith.
Baker led 43-32 after three quarters.
Smith led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Bunch added 16.
andquot;With Brett and Matt both hitting, they could defend one but not both,andquot; Woods said.
andquot;We felt we were in control the whole night.andquot; Friday game
Baker 15 10 18 12 55
Ontario 6 14 12 15 47
Baker (55) T.Taylor 1 0-0 2, DeMastus 3 0-0 6, Baxter 0 1-3 1, K. Johnson 1 0-0 3, Bunch 4 7-9 16, C. Taylor, Mullins 2 0-0 4, Sells, G. Johnson 2 1-2 5, Smith 7 4-8 18. Totals 20 13-22 55.
Ontario (47) Contreras, Mejia 0 2-4 2, Uchida 2 4-7 8, David 2 1-2 7, Babij 8 9-14 26, Gaschler, Kameshigi, Toombs 0 2-2 2, Schram 1 0-0 2, Wilson. Totals 15 18-29 47.
Three-point goals K. Johnson, Bunch, David 2, Babij. Fouled out Smith, Mullins, K. Johnson, Uchida. Total fouls Baker 28, Ontario 22. Technicals none.
Mac-Hi 7 11 8 15 41
Baker 23 9 15 13 60
Mac-Hi (41) Ruvacalba, Garcia, Middleton 1 0-0 2, Millar 1 0-0 3, Carlson 3 5-6 11, S. Gonzalez 5 0-0 12, J. Gonzalez 3 2-2 9, Paine 2 0-0 4, Tiscanero, Conlee. Totals 15 7-8 41.
Baker (60) T. Taylor 0 1-2 1, DeMastus 3 0-0 6, Baxter, K. Johnson 3 1-1 9, Bunch 5 0-0 13, C. Taylor 1 0-0 2, Mullins 4 0-0 8, Sells 1 0-0 2, G. Johnson 4 2-3 11, Smith 4 0-0 8. Totals 25 4-6 60.
Three-point goals Millar, S. Gonzalez 2, J. Gonzalez, K. Johnson 2, Bunch 3, G. Johnson. Fouled out none. Total fouls Mac-Hi 8, Baker 13. Technicals none.