LA GRANDE PULLS AWAY FROM BAKER 56-45
The La Grande basketball boys kept their Greater Oregon League record perfect Saturday night, though for about 30 minutes, the Baker Bulldogs gave the Tigers pretty much everything they could handle.
However, with two minutes left in the game and La Grande clinging to a 45-43 lead, Tiger 6-foot-6 post Ben Pettit took a lob pass in the paint and slammed it home, energizing his teammates and the La Grande crowd. The Tigers hit their free throws down the stretch to pull away for a 56-45 win.
Pettit finished with 25 points. The victory puts the Tigers at 7-0 in GOL and 11-6 overall.
Tyler Tucker also had a steal, an assist and hit two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to bring La Grande back from a 37-33 deficit. The Tigers outscored Baker 23-8 in the final five minutes.
"They (the 3-pointers) were pretty nice, (but) Ben's dunk was huge. He kind of set us off," said Tucker.
Tucker said Baker came ready for La Grande's tough pressure defense, which usually causes the Tigers' opponents fits. "They were prepared. They wanted to win," he said.
La Grande coach Aaron Mills said La Grande didn't shoot well early, but thought this game was a real check of his boys' character, especially when Baker opened up a four-point lead in the fourth.
"They didn't quit. When crunch time came, they played well," he said. "This game was a real eye-opener. You have to be ready to play every night in this league."
Tucker ended up with eight points, while Cory Steele, who also hit a pair of 3-pointers, had eight points. The Bulldogs were led by their physical 6-foot post Brett Smith, who scored 22. Matt Bunch hit a trio of 3-pointers for nine points.
La Grande's next game is Friday, when the Tigers host Riverside.
La Grande 56, Baker 45
Baker 7 12 11 15 45
La Grande 7 12 12 25 56
Baker DeMastus, 1 2-4 4, Brandon Ratterman 1 0-0 2, Bunch 3 0-0 9, Henry 3 2-2 8, Smith 7 8-14 22, Vaughn, Haberle, Hull. Totals: 15 12-20 45.
La Grande Tyler Tucker 2 2-2 8, Rick Anderson, 1 1-4 3, Kevin Bomberger 1 0-0 2, Aaron Nebeker 1 1-4 3, Kelly Moore 3 1-3 7, Cory Steele 3 0-0 8, Ben Pettit 9 7-10 25, Sean Cederholm, Troy Stebbins. Totals: 20 12-23 56.
Three-pointers Baker 3 (Bunch 3); La Grande 4 (Tucker 2, Steele 2). Fouled out Vaughn. Technical fouls none.