Grizzlies nip Baker boys

By Gerry Steele, The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

Bryce Nattress hit a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining in the game Friday to lift Fruitland to a 66-64 win at the Fruitland Christmas boys basketball tournament.

In the final minute, Baker led by two points but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw.

Nattress then hit a basket from the corner to tie the game at 64-64. He then stole a Baker pass to set up his game-winning free throws.

"We had our chances, but just didn't take advantage of them. And, the foul calls were different in the fourth quarter," said Baker coach Joel Richardson.

Fruitland (5-3) shot 16 of its 20 free throws in the fourth quarter.

The Grizzlies hit their final five free throw atempts while Baker missed its last four charity shots.

"We've got to do a better job on team defense," Richardson said.

"We gave up too many easy baskets.

"We did do a better job of taking care of the ball. I was proud of the kids. They played hard. We just have to do a better job on the road."

The game was an intense, back and forth contest from the beginning.

Nattress scored 10 first-quarter points to offset Baker's balanced scoring. Baker led 21-15 at the break.

Behind 16 first-half points from Dillon Blankenship, Baker maintained a 39-38 edge at halftime.

The momentum shifted in Fruitland's favor in the third period, as the Grizzlies scored the first eight points of the second half.

But, Baker (3-3) battled back behind the post play of Braden Phillips, Jake Grammon and Dane Bachman.

The Bulldogs clung to a 52-50 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

Nattress led Fruitland with 23 points.

Blankeship led Baker with 24 points. Ben Baxter added 14, and Phillips 10.

Baker won the rebound battle 27-22. Phillips led the way with seven, and Grammon had five.

Baker travels to Hermiston for a 1 p.m. game today.

BAKER (64)

Blankenship 8 7-8 24, Baxter 6 0-0 14, Phillips 4 1-2 10, Grammon 3 1-2 7, Bachman 2 0-1 4, Hamiton 1 1-2 3, Taylor 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 10-15 64.


Nattress 8 6-8 23, Little 5 2-2 12, Graves 3 4-4 10, Huff 2 2-4 6, Olinger 2 0-0 4, Seamons 2 0-0 4, Rhinehart 2 0-2 4, Stanger 0 1-2 1, Eiguren, Van Patten 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 15-20 66.

Baker - 21 18 13 12 - 64

Fruitland- 15 23 12 16 - 66

Three-point baskets - Blankenship, Baxter 2, Phillips, Nattress. Fouled out - unavailable. Total fouls - unavailable. Technicals - Baker Coach Richardson.

The Baker City Herald
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