Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

Baker's boys basketball team has an old face in a new position this season.

Joel Richardson, the Bulldogs' junior varsity coach the past few seasons, steps up the varsity position this season. Richardson replaces Craig Woods, who left to accept an administrative position with the Notus, Idaho, school district.

Richardson last coached the Baker girls varsity from 1992 through December 2003, leading the Baker girls to fourth place at he Class 3A tournament in 2000.

In 18 years of coaching boys and girls varsity teams at Baker and Jordan Valley, Richardson has compiled a 348-158 overall record. He earned two state girls titles in 1990 and 1991 at Jordan Valley.

"We're building toward March," Richardson said earlier this month before the Bulldogs' season began.

"We have a real huge emphasis on defensive rebounding right now. I feel if our defense is where it should be we'll be able to build on that."

The defending Greater Oregon League champions return five players from a year ago.

Seniors Jordan Curtis (6-foot-3), Colten Richards (6-1), and juniors Dillon Blankenship, Braden Phillips and Dane Bachman saw at least some varsity action last season.

Joining that group ar senior Cooper Brooks, and juniors Jorden Osborn, Mitko Smith, Darren Dolby and Trent Taylor.

"Jordan and Colten are both solid athletes, and Cooper will be a role player," Richardson said.

"Dillon will play both point guard and two guard. Braden is a good shooter and will play on the perimeter," the Baker coach said.

"Bachman also is a good shooter and has a good nose for the basketball. He also can rebound well for his size," Richardson said.

"Jorden Osborn is a big boy. We'll utilize him inside. Mitko is a good defensive player, our speed guy. Darren has moved up from the junior varsity.

"Trent is out with an injured foot that he hurt at the end of football right now," Richardson said. "If we can get him back somewhere by Christmas it would be great. He brings a lot of intensity to the floor. He's a super coachable kid.

"We have a couple of other spots we'll use as floater spots," Richardson said.

Paul Gambleton and Brent Gyllenberg are Richardson's assistant coaches.

"We have a great staff, and we're super excited about the season," Richardson said.

"I'm really big on having a consistent message to the kids on where we want to be at," he said.

Richardson noted that all four GOL boys teams will have new head coaches this season.

"We're the defending GOL champs so we'll have targets on our backs. We'll have to work every single night.