Baker boys basketball

Jake Wright, here against Nyssa earlier in the season, scored a team-high 16 points Monday at Vale.

The Baker boys basketball team’s winter tour of Malheur County ended up agonizingly short of perfection.

After traveling to Vale Monday night and soundly beating the Vikings 69-52, Baker retraced much of its route Tuesday but couldn’t overcome Nyssa in a 57-55 loss.

Gabe Gambleton’s 18-footer cut the lead to 2, but with just one-tenth of a second left the Bulldogs had no chance to get off a potential game-winning shot.

“They played harder than we did,” Baker coach Jebron Jones said of Nyssa, which avenged its 39-30 loss at Baker on Dec. 10. “They outhustled us, and that’s why they won.”

The game was close most of the way, with Baker leading 29-28 at halftime. Nyssa led by as many as 8 points in the fourth quarter before Baker rallied.

Jones said the Bulldogs allowed Nyssa to dictate the tempo, playing at a faster pace than is ideal for Baker.

Caden Long led Baker with 20 points. Gambleton added 12 and Riley Flanagan 12.

Baker swept the other games, the JV winning 50-27 and the JV2 55-50.

On Monday night at Vale, Jones said the Bulldogs clearly heeded his pre-game message about the importance of passing to an open teammate rather than taking a lower-percentage shot.

His players responded by racking up a season-best 19 assists on 26 made field goals.

“If we can get to about that percentage against any team I think we’ll have a good chance to be successful,” Jones said. “It was a great team effort. The sole focus of the game was on taking more quality shots, and it showed. I hope it continues the rest of the season.”

Several of those assists were on passes to 6-foot-5 post Jake Wright, who scored a season-high 16 points to lead Baker.

“Our focus was on getting the open man the ball, and often times he was that guy,” Jones said of Wright. “He did a great job of finishing, which was nice to see.”

Jones said Baker’s balanced scoring — Long had 15 points, Gambleton and Flanagan 12 each, and Spencer Smith added 9 — wasn’t a coincidence.

When a team plays unselfishly, multiple players tend to get good shots, Jones said.

He was also pleased with Baker’s consistent scoring throughout the game. The Bulldogs scored between 14 and 20 points in each quarter.

“We’re not a good enough team to have low point totals in any quarter,” Jones said.

Baker trailed 17-14 after the first quarter. Jones said he told the team between the first and second quarters that they couldn’t continue to yield that many points to Vale.

The Bulldogs didn’t.

They clamped down in the second quarter, holding Vale to just 6 points while scoring 19 points to take a 33-23 lead at halftime.

Baker won the JV game 42-24 and the JV2 game 47-17.

TUESDAY

BAKER (55)

Younger 0 0-0 0, Gambleton 7 0-0 16, Flanagan 6 0-0 12, Robb 0 0-0 0, Rigueiro 0 0-0 0, Wright 1 1-2 3, Shirtcliff 0 0-0 0, Long 9 1-2 20, Van Arsdall 1 0-0 2, Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 2-4 55.

NYSSA (57)

Pascacio 1 1-1 3, Pedraza 4 0-0 12, Chavez 6 2-3 16, Barba 6 1-3 15, Vela 1 0-0 2, Gomeza 4 1-2 9. Totals 22 5-9 57.

Baker 15 14 9 17 — 55

Nyssa 15 13 13 16 — 57

Three-point baskets — Gambleton 2, Long, Chavez 2, Barba 2, Pascacio, Pedraza 4. Total fouls — Baker 3, Nyssa 9.

MONDAY

BAKER (69)

Younger 0 0-0 0, Gambleton 4 2-2 12, Flanagan 5 2-2 12, Robb 0 0-0 0, Rigueiro 1 0-0 2, Wright 6 4-4 16, Shirtcliff 0 0-0 0, Long 7 1-2 15, Van Arsdall 1 1-2 3, Smith 4 1-2 9. Totals 28 11-14 69.

VALE (52)

Diaz 4 5-6 15, Kelso 2 0-0 6, Kesey 3 0-0 6, Wolfe 2 4-4 8, Aldred 0 2-2 2, Gregory 3 4-5 12, Kade Kurata 0 3-4 3. Totals 14 16-21 52.

Baker 14 19 20 16 — 69

Vale 17 6 16 13 — 52

Three-point baskets — Gambleton 2, Diaz 2, Kelso 2, Gregory 2. Total fouls — Baker 15, Vale 15.

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