About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

Stories by Brent Baker

Photo by Brent Baker - The Hornets' Alex Alvarez scored a 16-5 victory over Darrington's Forrest Thompson in opening-round action at the state 1B/2B wrestling tournament on Friday, Feb. 17.

Another silver for Perez

TACOMA – In the end, a state championship just wasn’t in the cards for Nick Perez. The Oroville senior earned his third straight second-place finish at the Class 1B/2B state wrestling finals in the Tacoma Dome on Saturday as he and Alex Alvarez combined to lift the Hornets to a ninth-place finish in the team standings. Perez (145 pounds) had the misfortune to run into Republic’s Kyle Kirkendall in the state championship match. Kirkendall, who won state titles in 2009 and 2010, had beaten Perez in the Eastern Regional meet last week.

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Half-Baked: Face-to-face at center circle

It’s taken me years to figure out why I’ve come to love the sport of wrestling. Not the WWE variety; the “Olympic” style that concluded its high school season at the WIAA’s Mat Classic XXIV in the Tacoma Dome this past weekend. Wrestling has been an acquired taste for me. There’s not much pretty about it: it doesn’t feature the ballet-like athleticism of high-level basketball, the explosive playmaking of football, the languid pace punctuated by feats of impossible speed and precision of baseball.

What’s to love about a sport that features equal parts blood, sweat, pain and the constant threat of heartbreak?

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New NVH second floor nears completion

TONASKET – The construction of the second floor at North Valley Hospital should be completed in early May, NVH facilities manager John Boyd reported at the Thursday, Feb. 9 hospital board meeting.

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Photo by Brent Baker - Alex Alvarez and Selkirk's Michael Haskins continued their rivalry at Saturday's regional tournament. For the third time this season, Alvarez (shown wrestling Haskins at districts last week) edged Haskins by one point, this time cli

Perez, Alvarez earn state wrestling berths

KITTITAS – Nick Perez earned his fourth straight state finals berth and Alex Alvarez will wrestle for the first time at the Tacoma Dome this year to highlight Oroville’s day of wrestling at the Class B Eastern Regional on Saturday, Feb. 11.

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Photo by Brent Baker - Christian Diaz, the biggest surprise of the postseason, entered the district tournament as the fourth seed. But after winning districts last week, Diaz proved it was no fluke by earning a spot at state with his regional performance

Four Tigers, two alternates head to Tacoma Dome

COLVILLE – It may well be the most intense weekend on the high school wrestling calendar.

The Tonasket Tigers did their best to keep the tension ratcheted up for their fans who trekked to Colville for the state-qualifying Class 1A Region IV tournament on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Four Tigers wrapped up state finals bids and two more will join them at the Tacoma Dome this weekend as alternates, but the 10 hour tournament to determine who would get those coveted spots was a rollercoaster of emotion for those involved.

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Photo by Brent BakerWhite Swan's physical defense gave Briana Moralez (1) and the Hornets fits early on, but Oroville adjusted to the Cougars' style of play and were only outscored by nine points in the final three quarters of Monday's loss.

White Swan’s fast start hands Oroville girls tourney defeat

EAST WENATCHEE – It didn’t take long to see why White Swan is one of the top-rated girls basketball teams in the state.

The Cougars’ physical full court press took its toll on Oroville early as they scored the game’s first 13 points. The Hornets settled down and played far better against the White Swan defense over the final three quarters of Monday’s 53-30 loss in the opening round of the Class 2B District 5/6 tournament, but the damage had been done.

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C.J. Mathews spots a teammate for an open layup during the Hornets' 66-52 upset of Riverside Christian on Monday, Feb. 13.

Hornets swarm Crusaders to open district tourney

WENATCHEE – The post-season is a new season, and the Oroville boys basketball team is now 1-0 on the road to the state tournament.

Playing with both verve and nerve, the Hornets overcame a serious bout of foul trouble and stanched a furious Riverside Christian rally in the fourth quarter to upset the Crusaders 66-52 Monday, Feb. 13, in the opening round of the Class 2B District 5/6 tournament.

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Photo by Brent Baker — Luke Kindred gets past Bridgeport's defense for two of his 10 points during Oroville's rout of the Mustangs last Tuesday.

Brewster hounds Oroville girls into submission

OROVILLE – There wasn’t much that Oroville girls basketball coach Mike Bourn liked about the Hornets’ 61-22 loss to Brewster on Saturday, Feb. 4.

The Bears threw their relentless full court pressure at the Hornets – for all 32 minutes, even though the game was quickly in hand – and were never challenged in handing Oroville a decisive defeat.

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Photo by Brent Baker — The Hornets' Alex Kelly battled through a painful back injury to clinch a spot at next week's eastern regional tournament before settling for a sixth-place finish on Saturday.

Hornets send seven to regionals

COULEE DAM – Seven of eight Oroville wrestlers survived Saturday’s Class B sub-regional at Lake Roosevelt to advance to next weekend’s regional tournament and a chance to qualify for the state finals.

Kittitas claimed team honors, edging Liberty Bell by 12 points for the top spot. Oroville placed eighth out of 12 teams.

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Photo by Brent Baker — Michael Orozco scored eight key fourth quarter points in the Tigers' victory over Omak, but his defense on the Pioneers' Country Pakootas was a big reason for Tonasket's victory.

Fantastic finish ends CTL streak

TONASKET – With one mad full-court dash to cap a desperate fourth quarter rally, four years of frustration ended in sweet, tearful bedlam for the Tonasket boys basketball team.

Just as the Tigers cut down a 49-game Caribou Trail League losing streak with Thursday’s 56-55 victory over Omak, so did they cut down the net as part of an emotional post-game celebration with families and classmates that was more a catharsis than it was pure jubilation.

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