Blankenship leads Baker past Tigers

By GERRY STEELE, Baker City Herald January 12, 2009 03:21 pm

Junior guard tallies 25 points in Greater Oregon League boys win


Baker’s Zach Thatcher battles Fruitland’s Jacob Crim for a rebound during Saturday’s non-league boys basketball game at BHS. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Baker’s Zach Thatcher battles Fruitland’s Jacob Crim for a rebound during Saturday’s non-league boys basketball game at BHS. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Baker opened the Greater Oregon League boys basketball season Friday by edging Ontario 59-56 at Ontario.

The Bulldogs (1-0 in the GOL) forged a 13-point lead late in the third quarter then had to hold on for the win.

“Ontario is a very aggressive team,” said Baker coach Craig Woods. “They try to get you to lose your composure.

“We built that 47-34 lead in the third quarter. Then we just kind of cruised. We just can’t do that. We have to play to put people away.”

One area Woods was pleased with was Baker’s free throw shooting. The Bulldogs entered the game shooting about 52 percent from the line. Against Ontario, the Bulldogs were 13-for-13 from the line in the first three quarters. Baker then was 8-of-13 from the line in the fourth quarter to finish the game 21-of-26.

Derek Blankenship, averaging 16 points a game entering the contest, scored his average in the first half against the Tigers. Baker held a 32-30 halftime edge.

Blankenship finished with 25 points. He got second-half help from post Dekker Smith and guard Jesse Brown.

“In the second half our posts were able to get some putbacks, and Jesse Brown had a good second half,” Woods said. “Things are starting to click both inside and outside.”

Brown and Smith each added 11 points for the Bulldogs.

Baker fell behind 8-4 in the first quarter then rode nine points from Blankenship to pull within 18-16 at the break.

Blankenship added seven second-period points to help the Bulldogs take the 32-30 halftime advantage. Zach Thatcher’s free throws in the final seconds gave Baker its lead.

Five points from Brown and four each from Blankenship and Kennan Richards helped Baker take the lead for good in the third quarter. Brown’s three-pointer gave Baker its largest lead, 47-34.

But Ontario wouldn’t go away. The Tigers went on runs of 8-0 and 10-2 to cut Baker’s lead to 55-54 with three minutes left in the game. Ontario had several chances to regain the lead on offensive rebounds but couldn’t convert.

Then, after the teams traded turnovers, Brown stole the ball and drove for a basket and a 57-54 Baker lead. After another Ontario turnover, the Tigers fouled Blankenship, who hit both free throws with 15 seconds left.

Baker returns to GOL action Friday when the Bulldogs host La Grande.


Baker    16    16    15               12 — 59

Ontario    18    12    8               18 — 56

Baker (59) — Kaseberg 0 2-2 2, Brown 3 3-5 11, Richards 2 2-2 6, Adams 0 2-2 2, Gorrell, Smith 5 1-3 11, Thatcher 0 2-2 2, Richardson, Quintana, Blankenship 7 9-10 25. Totals 17 21-26 59.

Ontario (56) — Anzaldua 1 3-3 6, Heninger 3 2-4 8, Mejia 3 6-7 14, Christiani 2 0-0 4, Nicholson 3 1-2 7, Lang 4 3-4 11, Turner 1 0-0 2, Keys 0 2-2 2, Quintero 1 0-1 2, Lzicar. Totals 18 17-23 56.

Three-point goals — Brown 2, Blankenship 2, Anzaldua, Mejia 2. Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Baker 20, Ontario 22. Technicals — Ontario (dunk during warmups).