Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

The Baker girls basketball team could have played much worse and still won all three of its games at the North Valley Winter Blast tournament.

Coach Mat Sand is pleased that the Bulldogs generally played well, of course.

But he appreciates the wide margin for error that Baker’s dominating defense gave his team, which improved its season record to 12-1.

“Defense is the start of any good offense, and that’s what we focus on,” Sand said. “The girls have just done a great job.”

In 12 quarters of tournament play, Baker held its opponent to 8 or fewer points in nine quarters.

After restricting host North Valley to just 4 points in the first quarter of a 68-14 win in Thursday’s opening round, Baker was similarly suffocating in beating Douglas 50-26 on Friday and Brookings-Harbor 62-38 on Saturday.

Brookings-Harbor had by far the most success, scoring 25 points in the first half.

But Baker also had its highest-scoring half of the tournament, taking a 36-25 lead. The Bulldogs then returned to their stifling ways, holding Brookings-Harbor to just 13 points in the second half.

Sand said he emphasizes defense because it can lead to easy layins in transition.

Sand said Baker “isn’t yet where we want to be” offensively, but he was especially happy with the Bulldogs’ free throw shooting. Baker made 21 of 27 foul shots during the tournament.

Jayme Ramos led Baker with 46 points over the three games. Sydney Younger scored 40, and Rose Gwillim 38.

“The unity on this team is really high,” Sand said. “We want to make another run at state, and I think this team is capable of that.”

Baker opens Greater Oregon League play Saturday against Mac-Hi in the Baker gym.