Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

Baker boys basketball fans got their money's worth Friday when the Bulldogs needed overtime to defeat Weiser 69-57 in the nonleague home opener at BHS.

"It was a gritty, tough, competitive ballgame," said Baker coach Joel Richardson.

"Whatever it takes. Whether its 32 minutes, or 36 minutes we've got to play them all."

Baker (2-1) outscored the visiting Wolverines (3-2) 15-3 in the extra period.

"I thought our composure was really good in the overtime," Richardson said.

With the score knotted at 54-54, Mason Cline got Baker off to a quick start in the overtime with a latin. The Bulldogs never trailed gain.

Braden Phillips, who led Baker with 19 points and 10 rebounds, added a three-point basket with three minutes left in the overtime.

Baker then finished the game hitting 10-of-14 free throws in the extra period.

Weiser used a trio of three-point baskets to build a 16-7 lead after one quarter.

Baker contributed to the problem by committing six turnovers in the opening eighth minutes.

Baker then switched from a zone to a man-to-man defense and battled back in the second quarter.

"We came out soft in the zone," Richardson said.

"We wanted to start in the zone because we eren't sure what kind of offense Weiser was going to run. And, the zone was less tiring on our legs.

"Then we switched to man and the kids responded well," Richardson said. "I think we really asserted ourselves in the second half.

Phillips scored eight points in the second period, and sparked Baker's defense to help the Bulldogs pull within 27-24 at halftime. The Bulldogs finished the half on a 10-0 run.

Dane Bachman then hit a pair of three-point baskets in the third quarter that helped the Bulldogs take a 31-29 edge with 4:15 left in the third quarter. It was Baker's first lead since a 3-2 lead to start the game. Bachman latr left the game with a sprained ankle.

Bachman scored six points, and Dillon Blankenship five, in the third quarter that left Baker on top 41-36 at the break.

Weiser went back to the three-point shot to mount a fourth-quarter comeback.

Justin Lopez, who finished with five "threes," connected on three of them in the quarter to give Weiser a 51-50 lead with 1:20 left in regulation.

Cline then scored four straight points to give Baker a 54-51 lead with 34.5 seconds left in regulation.

Weiser continued to try the long-range bombs to try to tie the game. And, it was finally successful when Elias Daniel hit a three-pointer with 4.3 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

But, not before one last attempt by the Bulldogs.

After a Baker timeout with 2.6 seconds left, Phillips, Baker's quarterback on the state-champion football team, fired a full-court pass to Blankenship. Blankenship had time to dribble once to his left, but fired up an air ball as the horn sounded.

"I thought we did a nice job of staying with what we can do," Richardson said.

"I thought we did a great job on the boards after the first quarter."

Jake Grammon led Baker with 13 rebounds.

"Jake played a really good game," Richardson said.

"He was really battling and hustling."

Baker hosts Payette Tuesday.


T. Crawford 1 0-0 2, Roberts 1 0-0 2, Hemphill, Reyes 3 0-0 8, Grothaus 1 0-2 2, Thomas 3 2-3 10, Lopez 5 0-0 15, Daniel 4 1-2 11, Miller 2 1-2 5, G. Crawford 1 0-0 2, Barron. Totals 21 4-9 57.

BAKER (69) -

Blankenship 4 6-11 14, Bachman 2 1-2 7, Baxter 1 7-9 9, Cline 3 4-6 10, Phillips 5 6-9 19, Grammon 4 2-4 10, Swiger. Totals 19 26-41 69.

Weiser -16 11 9 18 3 - 57

Baker - 7 17 17 13 15 - 69

Three-point baskets - Reyes 2, Thomas 2, Lopez 5, Daniel 2, Bachman 2, Phillips 3. Fouled out - Hemphill, Reyes, Daniel. Total fouls - Weiser 28, Baker 14. Technicals - none.