Baker girls basketball

Baker’s Sydney Keller drives to the basket against Powder Valley’s Belle Blair Tuesday at North Powder.

Baker’s offense all but disappeared for eight minutes Tuesday at North Powder, but the Bulldogs’ stifling defense stuck around.

After racing to a 15-4 lead after one quarter in a rare varsity matchup against Class 1A Powder Valley, the Baker girls managed just 4 points in the second period.

The Bulldogs, ranked third in Class 4A, led 19-12 at halftime.

But Baker regained its offensive momentum in the second half, and with a consistently strong defense the Bulldogs went on to win 51-27.

“We started out fairly well but it just seemed like our energy went totally away in the second period,” Baker coach Mat Sand said. “We lost our intensity as a team, and we can’t do that.”

Baker’s defense helps offset those offensive lapses.

For the third straight game the Bulldogs didn’t allow its opponent to reach double figures in any quarter.

Baker, which has won nine straight games and is 18-2 overall, is yielding an average of 24 points over its past four games.

“Our defense was really good,” Sand said. “Our offense was clunky at times.”

Freshman post Jozie Ramos scored 6 of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter, and seniors Lauren Benson (5 points) and Sydney Younger (4) helped Baker roll to a 15-4 lead.

But Baker’s only points in the second period were Benson’s 3-pointer and a free throw by Sydney Keller.

Powder Valley’s Belle Blair, who had a team-high 11 points, scored 6 points in the quarter and the Badgers closed to within 7 at halftime.

Ramos tallied 11 of Baker’s 15 points in the third period — including 5 for 5 free throws — and the Bulldogs increased their lead to 34-19.

Younger scored 8 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter as Baker pulled away.

Benson added 10 points, including both of Baker’s 3-pointers.

Dallee Jo Bingham had 6 points for the Badgers (8-8), and McKenzie Leggett added 5.

Baker had a major advantage at the free throw line, making 17 of 25 compared with Powder Valley’s 6 of 8.

“They’re a really good basketball team,” Badgers’ head coach Allen Bingham said of Baker. “If we could improve in a few areas regardless of the outcome, we’d be good. We felt like it was positive for us.”

Although Powder Valley is Baker’ nearest competitor, just 20 miles north on Interstate 84, the schools rarely compete at the varsity level. Powder Valley is in the Class 1A Old Oregon League.

Baker athletic director Buell Gonzales Jr. said he was looking for a late-season nonleague game to round out the schedule, and Powder Valley athletic director Brad Dunten invited the Bulldog girls and boys to play in the brand-new gym at North Powder.

Baker hosts La Grande Friday at 6 p.m. in a key Greater Oregon League game. Baker is 3-0 in league play.

BAKER (51)

Elms 0 0-0 0, Hellberg 2 0-0 4, Flanagan 1 0-0 2, Keller 1 1-6 3, Younger 3 6-7 12, Zikmund 0 0-0 0, Carter 0 0-0 0, Ramos 6 8-9 20, Benson 3 2-3 10, Moore 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 17-25 51.

POWDER VALLEY (27)

Williams 0 0-0 0, D. Bingham 3 0-0 6, McKenzie Leggett 2 0-0 5, Orr 0 0-0 0, K. Bingham 0 3-5 3, Davis 1 0-0 2, Blair 4 3-3 11. Totals 10 6-8 27.

Baker 15 4 15 17 — 51

Powder Valley 4 8 7 8 — 27

Three-point baskets — Benson 2, McKenzie Leggett. Total fouls — Baker 12, Powder Valley 14.

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