After hundreds of basketball games over the weekend, the biggest winner of the Baker Jam may not have been on the basketball courts in the school gyms.
With each of the more than 64 teams bringing dozens of players and family members to the community, the 18th annual tournament bounced back from being canceled the year before because of COVID-19.
According to Alissa Miller, the vice president of the Baker Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, the city saw an increase in business, especially with local restaurants and motels.
With good weather Saturday, food trucks outside the Baker High School and Longfellow School gyms also report good business.
However, a precipitous drop in temperature on Sunday also caused a drop in the sales of ice cream one food truck reported on the second day.
Miller, who was also one of the organizers of the tournament, added that a breakfast buffet by one local business was also a big hit.
The fifth and sixth grade teams controlled the courts at both the Longfellow and high school gyms Saturday.
Baker had two teams competing in the Fifth Grade girls division, with the Lil’ Shooters making it to the semifinals after knocking off the Baker Voltage by a 22-13 margin. The Custer/Hysham Rebels beat the Lil’ Shooters in the semifinals by a narrow 23-20 decision.
In the boys bracket, Baker’s Runnin’ Rebels 1 team won the pool play with a perfect 4-0 record, before going on to win the title by beating Spearfish.
Baker did not have a team in the sixth grade boys tournament.
In the girls sixth grade competition, the local players were on the Baker Ballerz and the Randos.
The Randos opened the tourney with a 22-11 win over Beach and a 50-2 victory over Sidney, but in the semifinals, the team from Circle handed them a 21-14 loss, dropping the Randos into a third place game against Battle Hills, where they dropped a second straight game.
The Baker Ballerz lost their opener to the Bowman Dawgs by a 32-6 margin, then dropped a 35-9 decision to the Lions. In the final game, the Ballerz lost to Forsyth by a 24-16 score.
On the second day, the Baker team made it to the Seventh grade boys title game before losing a narrow 32-30 decision to the Ekalaka Dawgs. Ekalaka built a sizable first half lead in the title game, only to see the Baker squad roar back on three-point baskets and even grab the lead in the final minutes. Baker earned the spot in the final with a 52-10 win over Beach and a 41-30 decision that ousted New England.
In the girls competition, the seventh grade squad defeated Circle to win the tournament title. The team started with a 44-8 win over the Warriors, then followed it with a 60-11 victory over Forsyth.
In the eighth grade competition, the boys squad was winless in its pool play, dropping a 42-19 decision to the Circle team and a 54-8 loss to the Redhawks.
In the girls competition, the Baker squad started with a 36-12 win over Wibaux, then followed with a 33-15 victory over the Hoop Stars and a 32-30 win over the Bulldogs.
Billings defeated the Baker Spartans by a 27-11 margin at Longfellow gym Sunday evening to claim the title.