The Baker High School girls basketball team has been almost perfect this season.
Actually they have been perfect – in Oregon.
They’re also unbeaten in 2018.
The Bulldogs’ only loss in 22 games took place across the Snake River in Idaho. That lone blemish, a 67-58 defeat to Vallivue, Idaho, happened more than two months ago, on Dec. 19, 2017.
Since then Baker has won 16 consecutive games. The most recent victory, 73-55 over Brookings-Harbor on Friday in the Baker gym, propelled the Bulldogs to the Class 4A state tournament this week in Forest Grove. Baker will play Banks on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. at Pacific University.
It’s no fluke that the Bulldogs have had such a fine season. This isn’t one of those miraculous, out-of-nowhere success stories.
Coach Mat Sand, now in his third season, had a strong foundation to build on when he took over in 2015 for Jenny Mowe-Joseph, for whom he served as volunteer coach. We had a glimpse of the type of team Baker would be in Sand’s first game as coach, when the Bulldogs rallied in the fourth quarter to force overtime and beat Ridgeview of Redmond 63-58 on Dec. 4, 2015. Some of the leaders of the current team have been with Sand throughout, including seniors Kaeli Flanagan, Desi Davis, Emily Carter and Calli Ward, and junior Jayme Ramos.
The Bulldogs advanced to the state tournament last year for the first time since 2006. This week Baker looks to make school history with its best record and tournament finish. The Bulldogs placed fourth in the 2000 tournament, and 5th in 2006.
However the games turn out in Forest Grove, though, these Bulldogs have already accomplished a great deal. And we have no doubt that they will represent their school, and their community, in a way that makes us all proud.
From the Baker City Herald editorial board. The board consists of editor Jayson Jacoby and reporter Chris Collins.