Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

Baker closed out 2012 with a 73-59 nonleague boys basketball win at Hermiston Monday afternoon.

Baker (4-3) placed four players in double figures in the rout.

"We came out pretty strong," said Baker coach Joel Richardson.

"I thought the guys did a nice job getting off the bus and taking it to Hermiston."

Despite Baker's early success Hermiston stayed with the Bulldogs and actually led 18-17 at the break.

Baker then outscored Hermiston 19-9 in the second quarter to take a 36-27 halftime lead.

Richardson then tried to turn up the heat in the halftime locker room.

"I told the guys we were playing too soft in the first half, and we needed to drive more to the basket," Richardson said.

Hermiston puled within 43-39 in the third period but Baker answered with an 8-0 run to pull away.

Dillon Blankenship, who led Baker with 27 points, picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and had to go to the bench.

Dane Bachman stepped in and score half of his 15 points in the quarter to pick up the slack.

"That was big for us," Richardson said.

The Baker coach said the Bulldogs committed just 10 turnovers and handled Hermiston pressure well.

"We really handled their press well. I was really pleased with the way we handled the pressure," Richardson said.

Point guard Ben Baxter ran the offense well and added 10 points, Richardson said.

"I was really pleased with the way the kids responded coming off a couple of close games (both losses) at the Fruitland tournament," he said.

Baker dominated the rebounding battle 38-22. Jake Grammon led the way with 15 rebounds and added 13 points.

"Jake owned the glass, and getting a double-double was great," Richardson said.

Braden Phillips and Blankenship each added six rebounds, and Bachman five.

"We still have to keep working on our defense, but it was a good team win," Richardson said.

Baker travels to Nyssa Thursday then opens Greater Oregon League play Friday at Ontario.

BAKER (73)

Blankenship 10 7-14 27, Bachman 4 7-10 15, Grammon 4 5-8 13, Baxter 3 2-4 10, Phillips 1 4-8 6, Hamilton 0 2-2 2, Cline. Totals 22 27-46 73.


Flores 5 0-0 13, Contress 5 0-2 12, Spain 5 0-0 11, Alexander 2 2-2 6, Wyant 2 2-2 6, Flyg 2 2-2 6, Phipps 1 0-0 2, Gritz 1 0-0 2, Calderon 0 1-2 1. Totals 23 7-10 59.

Baker - 17 19 15 22 - 73

Hermiston- 18 9 14 18 - 59

Three-point baskets - Baxter 2, Flores 3, Contress 2, Spain. Fouled out - Flores, Wyant, Flyg. Total fouls - Baker 13, Hermiston 30. Technicals - Flyg.