Baker raced to an early lead then thwarted Homedale’s late rally to open the boys basketball season with a 55-49 win over the Trojans at Homedale, Idaho, on Thursday, Dec. 2.

“It was a great start to the season,” Baker coach Jebron Jones said.

With four freshmen joining a roster of veterans, Jones said he expected struggles in the first game.

But aside from several turnovers — which Jones attributed in part to the fast pace of play he prefers — he said the Bulldogs played well.

“We shared the ball extremely well, giving up good shots for great shots,” Jones said. “Offensively I think we did a great job.”

Baker took a 10-point lead in the first quarter, fueled by an aggressive defense that led to multiple turnovers and easy baskets.

“I think our pressure kind of flustered them most of the game,” Jones said of the Trojans, who were also playing their first game of the season. “I think they were kind of shocked.”

Baker led the entire game, but Homedale chiseled away at the lead and got within two points in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore Hudson Spike led Baker with 15 points. Freshman Isaiah Jones had 14 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, in his first varsity game, and sophomore Paul Hobson had 12 points.

Jebron Jones said he was especially impressed with his players’ willingness to take offensive charges, doing so five or six times.

“That takes a real unselfish play to do that,” Jones said.

He thinks that will be a key to the Bulldogs’ success this year.

“The biggest thing is that they need to check their egos at the door, and to do whatever is best for the team,” Jones said. “That’s my biggest challenge, and I’m looking forward to it. They’re all great young men, on and off the court.”

Baker played Banks on Saturday morning, Dec. 4 at North Powder.

The Baker gym was being used for a wrestling tournament.

The Bulldogs travel to Fruitland, Idaho, on Tuesday, Dec. 7 for a 6 p.m. PST tipoff.

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