Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

Baker fell into an early hole and could never quite get over the hump Saturday, dropping a 53-48 girls basketball game to Yamhill-Carlton in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs at Baker High School.

Baker, the Greater Oregon League champion, trailed 8-0 in the first four minutes of the game. The Bulldogs, who never led in the game, managed to cut the deficit to 48-47 with 47.9 seconds left in the game. But that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.

"We got a lot of good shots, especially in the second half. We got some good looks, we just couldn't get them to fall," said Baker coach Tim Smith.

"Once we got behind the kids sort of went into a scramble mode. That was hard on the kids," he said.

"The girls fought hard, and had a chance to win at the end. I feel like we deserve to play at Gill this week, but the bracket tells us different."

Trailing 8-0, Baker finally broke the scoring ice when Dallas Defrees stole the ball and scored on a fast break with 4:22 left in the first quarter.

Yamhill-Carlton maintained a 16-12 lead at the break.

Baskets by Ashley Shively and Defrees helped Baker pull within 20-17 with 2:30 left in the first half. Then Yamhill-Carolton went on a brief run of its own to take a 30-23 halftime lead.

The second half started the same way as the first, with the visitors doing all the scoring. Yamhill-Carlton opened the third quarter on a 8-0 run to build its cushion to 38-23 with 5:30 left in the quarter.

Mackenzie Warner's three-point basket got Baker on the board and the Bulldogs managed to stay within range, trailing 47-36 at the break.

Then it was Baker's turn to put unanswered points on the board.

Five points from Whitney Phillips and baskets by Tara Talbott and Defrees pulled Baker to within 47-45 with 2:03 left in the game.

Yamhill-Carolton scored its first point in the quarter on a free throw with 1:08 left.

Defrees then was fouled going to the basket. She made the basket, but missed the free throw leaving the Bulldogs down 48-47.

Talbott and Phillips both grabbed offensive rebounds in the ensuing scramble, but couldn't get the follow shots to drop.

Yamhill-Carlton then went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 27.3 seconds to take the win.

"We played a really good second half after the first two minutes or so," Smith said.

"I'm going to miss our seniors. We had a great season. To start out 1-5 then lose only four of our last 18 games. This is a great bunch of kids. I'm very proud of them."

Defrees led Baker with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Carrie Skuzeski led Yamhill-Carlton with 19 points.

Yamhill-Carlton 16 14 17 6 - 53

Baker 12 11 13 12 - 48

Yamhill-Carlton (53) - Larson 0 7-9 7, Skuzeski 6 7-8 19, Findley 3 0-0 8, Webb 3 1-2 7, Anderson 2 1-2 5, Adams 1 0-0 2, Ogden, Harder, Apke 0 0-2 0, Bellwood 1 3-4 5. Totals 16 19-27 53.

Baker (48) - Warner 1 5-5 8, Defrees 6 0-2 12, Phillips 3 3-3 9, Daly 1 2-3 4, Talbott 1 3-4 5, Adams, Shively 1 0-0 2, Harlow 0 2-2 2, Hoopes 0 2-2 2, Ogan 1 2-4 4. Totals 14 19-25 48.

Three-point goals - Findley 2, Warner. Fouled out - Webb. Total fouls - Yamhill-Carlton 20, Baker 21. Technicals - none.