Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

One disastrous quarter effectively ended Baker's bid to make the Class 4A state boys basketball tournament Friday.

The Bulldogs managed just three points in the opening eight minutes at Philomath, and couldn't recover, falling 49-41 to end their season.

Baker coach Joel Richardson said that one quarter seemed like an entire half.

"It was a game of two halves," he said, acknowledging that after the first period Baker outscored the Warrrior 38-37.

"That first half was obviously not our best half of the season," he said.

Richardson said the Bulldogs committed 14 turnovers in the first quarter, and just 17 for the game.

"That first half was really tough," he said. "If we'd played any type of game like we did in the second half... That's just the difference of playing on the road instead of at home."

Baker fell behind by as many as 16 points in the second quarter before a pair of late Braden Phillips three-pointers pulled the Bulldogs to within 27-15 at halftime.

The margin remained in that range until midway through the fourth quarter when Baker made a valiant run.

Trailing 40-24 early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs rallied to get within 43-39 with about two minutes left in the game.

Then, the Bulldogs had to foul to get the ball, and Philomath made enough free throws to salt the game away.

"I told the guys at halftime that 'you can be in this thing if you just chip away'," Richardson said.

"We did a much better job of attacking the basket in the second half.

"The kids gave themselves the opportunity to come back and win. I thought the kids played super hard. They have to be awfully proud of themselves the way they battled back," Richardson said.

Dillon Blankenship led Baker with 15 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.

Phillips added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"I really felt bad for our seniors, having their season end this way. They're a great bunch of kids, and the parents have been super supportive," Richardson said.

The Bulldogs ended their season 15-9.

BAKER (41)

Blankenship 6 2-2 15, Hamilton 3 0-0 6, Bachman 3 0-2 7, Taylor, Baxter, Cline 1 0-0 2, Phillips 3 2-3 11, Swiger. Totals 16 4-7 41.


Nash 3 6-8 14, Noble 3 0-0 6, Chambers 1 1-2 3, Nelson 2 2-4 6, DeSaulnier 10 0-1 20, Thomas, Bennett. Totals 19 9-15 49.

Baker -3 12 9 17 - 41

Philomath -12 15 10 12 - 49

Three-point baskets - BlankenshipBachman, Phillips 3, Nash 2. Fouled out - DeSaulnier. Total fouls - Baker 17, Philomath 14. Technicals - none.