Baker girls basketball

Baker’s Anna Carter goes for a basket against the defense of Vale’s Ashley Jacobs Tuesday night in the Baker gym. The Bulldogs won 50-28.

Baker started slowly Tuesday night against Vale, but once the points started coming they added up fast.

As they have several times this season, the defending Class 4A state champion Bulldogs went on a rapid scoring run to reverse momentum and take control.

After missing its first four shots and falling behind 4-0 to the Class 3A Vikings, Baker scored 13 straight points. The Bulldogs led 16-9 after the first quarter, and Vale only briefly got as close as 6 points the rest of the way.

The 50-28 win in Baker’s final nonleague game before starting Greater Oregon League play Friday at fourth-ranked La Grande boosted the second-ranked Bulldogs’ season record to 12-2.

Baker coach Mat Sand attributed the Bulldogs’ slow start, and occasional periods of “sloppy” play thereafter, to some new offensive and full-court press strategies he wanted to add to their repertoire before the league schedule starts.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but the season is always progressive,” Sand said. “I want us to be peaking by mid to late February.”

Baker went scoreless for almost half of the first quarter.

Freshman post Jozie Ramos broke the scoring drought with a 14-foot jumper with 4:26 left in the quarter to cut Vale’s lead to 4-2.

Just 15 seconds later, senior point guard Sydney Younger scored from 10 feet to tie the game, and Baker was on its way.

Senior Isabella Nemec had the next two baskets, the second a three-pointer, and Baker led 9-4. Younger had a layin, and senior Anna Carter capped the 13-0 run, over 3 minutes, with a pair of free throws.

Baker’s full-court press yielded several steals in the first quarter as Vale struggled against the Bulldogs’ aggressive defense.

Matyson Siddoway’s steal and layin to start the second half cut Baker’s lead to 22-16. But the Bulldogs dominated the rest of the third quarter, outscoring the Vikings 14-3. Senior Lauren Benson ended the quarter in dramatic fashion by swishing a three-pointer at the buzzer to boost Baker’s lead to 36-19.

The Bulldogs shrugged off foul trouble. Baker drew its seventh foul of the second half just 4 minutes in, but Vale made 7 of 15 free throws in the second half. The Vikings made just three field goals in the final two quarters.

Baker, meanwhile, had one of its best performances at the foul line, making 8 of 9 shots, led by Ramos’ 5 for 5.

Younger led Baker with 16 points. Ramos added 13, and Benson, Nemec and Sydney Keller had 5 points each.

VALE (28)

E. Johnson 3 2--4 9, Cleaver 2 0-2 4, Dotson 0 0-0 0, Wolfe 1 2-2 4, R. Johnson 0 1-2 1, Jacobs 1 0-0 3, Siddoway 1 2-5 4, Rodgers 1 1-3 3. Totals 9 8-18 28.

BAKER (50)

Hellberg 0 0-0 0, Keller 2 1-2 5, Younger 7 0-0 16, Zikmund 1 0-0 2, Carter 1 2-2 4, Nemec 2 0-0 5, Ramos 4 5-5 13, Benson 2 0-0 5. Totals 19 8-9 50.

Vale 9 5 5 9 — 28

Baker 16 6 14 14 — 50

Three-point baskets — Younger 2, Nemec, Benson, Johnson, Jacobs. Total fouls — Vale 11, Baker 16.

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