By GERRY STEELE
Of the Baker City Herald
Baker was perfect from the free throw line in the final two minutes Friday and held off Pendleton 66-57 in a non-league boys basketball game at Baker High School.
The Bulldogs (2-1) were 10-for-10 from the line in the final 2:19 to withstand a Pendleton comeback bid that cut Baker's lead to two points twice.
andquot;We put our best free throw shooters in at the end of the game because we knew they would have to foul,andquot; said Baker coach Craig Woods.
andquot;In my nine years here Pendleton has never come to Baker before this. We've always had to go there and play.
andquot;Those free throws were some big points. You have to hit your free throws.andquot; Lowell Curtis was 6-for-6 and Grant Johnson 4-for-4 from the line down the stretch. A pair of Curtis free throws with 36.8 seconds left gave Baker a four-point lead, 60-56. Pendleton never got closer after that.
Matt Duman added a key layin with 1:15 left in the game. Johnson appeared to have a rebound of missed Baker shot. But, the ball slipped through Johnson's hands under the basket. Duman, standing beside Johnson, grabbed the ball and layed it in.
andquot;Matt was just in the right place at the right time,andquot; Woods said.
The Baker coach also was pleased with the way the Bulldogs started the game.
Johnson scored eight first-quarter points to help the Bulldogs build a 15-3 lead at the break.
andquot;That was a good run to start the game,andquot; Woods said.
Six points from Travis Mastrude, five by Curtis and four from Trevor Taylor helped the Bulldogs maintain a 34-19 advantage at halftime.
Then, in the fourth quarter, Pendleton used an 8-2 run to pull within 54-51 with 3:05 left in the game. The Bucks then got to within 56-54 with 1:45 left, and 58-56 with 46 seconds left before Baker connected on its free throws.
Johnson led Baker with 20 points. Curtis added 12.
Baker travels to Grant Union Tuesday.
Pendleton 3 16 20 18 57
Baker 15 19 13 19 66
Pendleton (57) Patterson 3 1-1 7, Whitten 2 1-2 7, Talbott 4 2-2 10, Schimmel 2 3-3 9, West 3 2-3 8, Wright, Goodwin 2 0-0 4, Corey 4 0-0 8, Smootz, Beamer 2 0-0 -4, Neal, McGrath. Totals 22 9-11 57.
Baker (66) Taylor 2 1-2 5, Duman 3 1-2 7, Curtis 2 7-8 12, Mastrude 3 1-2 9, Johnson 7 5-10 20, Suitter 1 1-2 3, Grigg 0 0-1 0, Sells 2 3-4 8, Garrick, Speelman 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 19-31 66.
Three-point goals Whitten 2, Schimmel 2, Curtis, Mastrude 2, Johnson, Sells. Fouled out none. Total fouls Pendleton 22, Baker 17. Technicals Whitten, Pendleton Coach Clem.