A season-long problem jumped up and bit the Baker girls basketball team again Friday at La Grande.
The Bulldogs have played very few complete games this season, and it shows in their record.
Baker had a chance to clinch a Greater Oregon League state playoff berth with a win against the Tigers. But an icy start to the game proved fatal for the Bulldogs in a 55-43 loss. Baker got the state berth anyway on Saturday when Ontario defeated Mac-Hi 64-17.
La Grande clinched the GOL title with the win.
La Grande outscored the Bulldogs 14-1 in the first quarter. Baker outscored the Tigers 42-41 in the other three quarters.
"It was the same old song and dance," said Baker coach Tim Smith.
"We seem to always have that one bad quarter. Tonight it was the first quarter. I just can't put my finger on what the problem is.
"We obviously can't be satisfied with that kind of effort in the first quarter," Smith said. "We were just not mentally ready to go, again."
Despite the slow start, Baker managed to battle back to within 24-14 at halftime. Michelle Freese and Ashley Trees each scored four points in the second quarter.
Treese, Marley Robb and Shasta Overton each scored four points in the third period to help Baker pull within 37-30 after three quarters.
Robb and Trees each added a basket early in the fourth quarter that got Baker back to within 40-34 with 4:46 left in the game.
But that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.
Robb came off the bench to lead the Bulldogs with 14 points. Trees added another 11 points off the bench.
"The girls never gave up," Smith said. "We've got to play the whole game."
Baker closes out its home season Tuesday by hosting Ontario in another GOL contest. The Bulldogs then travel to Mac-Hi Friday.
Robb 2 10-13 14, A. Smith, Freese 2 0-1 4, Trees 4 2-4 11, Birkmaier, Bachman, Kercheski 2 0-0 4, E. Smith, Overton 2 0-0 4, Duman 3 0-1 6. Totals 15 12-19 43.
LA GRANDE (55) andshy;
Tracy, Comfort 5 7-10 17, Page, Clipfell 0 2-2 2, Elliott, Grigsby, Partney 5 2-6 14, White, Moore 1 2-3 4, Mills 6 3-5 16, Momsen, Tooke 1 0-2 2. Totals 18 16-28 55.
Baker andshy; 1
13 - 43
18 - 55
La Grande andshy;14
Three-point baskets - Trees, Partney 2, Mills. Fouled out -none. Total fouls -Baker 22, La Grande 22. Techincals -Baker Coach Smith.