The Baker Bulldogs defeated Junction City 75-58 Saturday to claim a second 4A boys basketball state title. (Jim Beseda photo)
The Baker Bulldogs defeated Junction City 75-58 Saturday to claim a second 4A boys basketball state title. (Jim Beseda photo)

FOREST GROVE — There was no need for the Baker Bulldogs to make any changes to their game plan Saturday night.

What worked through three decisive wins to open the playoffs worked again in the biggest game of the season.

Baker’s Jaxon Logsdon finished with a game-high 22 points as the Bulldogs steamrolled the Junction City Tigers 75-58 in Saturday’s championship final of the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 4A boys basketball tournament at Forest Grove High School.

The Bulldogs (28-1) now have a second blue trophy to put next to the one they won in 2007.

“I’m very proud of the kids,” Baker coach Jebron Jones said. “Nothing surprised me tonight. I knew they had this in them and it was just a matter of showing everyone else exactly what they're made of.

“Tonight, the game plan was to play tougher and more physical than Junction City. We wanted to speed the game a little bit and see what happened from there.”

Sound familiar? Anybody who follows 4A basketball knows that is the same strategy the Bulldogs used in a 60-52 win over Newport in the first round, a 51-30 romp over Philomath in Thursday’s quarterfinals, and a 74-54 rout over top-ranked Cascade in Friday’s semifinals.

Hey, if it ain’t broke …

In Saturday’s final, Baker did more of the same. The Bulldogs (29-1) combined a high-pressure defense and a quick-hitting offense with a 10-man rotation whose primary purpose was to run Junction City into the ground.

The Tigers (23-4) kept pace with Baker through the first quarter, which ended in an 11-11 tie.

In the second quarter, the first cracks in Junction City’s armor appeared when Logsdon scored on a transition layup that gave Baker a 24-17 lead. 

Moments later, the cracks widened when Logsdon buried a corner three-pointer, touching off a 10-2 run that pushed the lead to 34-22 at halftime.

“The keys were tough defense, moving the ball well, and hustling and talking,” Baker senior guard Paul Hobson said. “I think another huge factor that we kept talking about was our composure and just keeping our heads when we knew pressure was going to come.”

Junction City tried to counter-punch early in the third quarter, but nothing worked as the Bulldogs extended their lead to 55-38.

“We tried to increase our intensity,” Tigers senior guard Cooper Rothenberger said. “Coming out of halftime, we wanted to push the ball a little bit more, but Baker’s defense wouldn’t allow it. We wanted to throw some pressure back at them and went full-court press. They broke it a couple times and got some easy ones and that hurt.

“Baker is tough. They’re deep. All 12 guys can come in and play. They all know their roles and they’re going to get after you defensively. I think they executed their game plan. They got after us pretty well tonight. So, it was a beatin’.”

Baker junior Isaiah Jones finished with 19 points and six assists, and sophomore Rasean Jones added 13 points, five rebounds, and three steals. Hudson Spike and Hobson chipped in eight points apiece for the Bulldogs, who shot 66.7 percent (26 of 39) from the field to Junction City’s 38.0 percent (19 of 50).

As the Baker players celebrated with their fans who made the 330-mile trip from Baker City, almost all of them took time to reflect on all the hard work that went into making what happened Saturday night possible.

“We put in a lot of extra work this year in the weight room after school,” said Isaiah Jones, a unanimous pick to the all-tournament first team. “I feel like this year, we were mentally and physically stronger, and that helped us in physical games, like all the games we played this week.

“The key tonight was we kept our heads in the game, we didn’t get too down, and we didn’t get too up. And when we heard that final buzzer, we knew we’d completed the job.”

Added Logsdon: “All the time we’ve put in on and off the court. People on this team do stuff that we don’t even know they do, putting in hours and hours of time in the gym. All the preparation we put down … it showed.

“This is exciting. We lost to Junction City last year and they whopped us pretty good, but we came and got ‘em back. We came and got the win.”

Junction City’s Keivon Riley, one of the eight seniors on the Tigers' roster, finished with a team-high 18 points and three assists. Avery Thomas added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and Levi Walker had eight points and five rebounds.

“We overachieved,” said Junction City coach Bart Rothenberger, whose team finished 23-4. “When we lost four all-state players after last year, nobody thought we’d be back here. But this is a great group of kids who have overachieved.

“And hats off to Baker. They had a tremendous season, their coach does a tremendous job, and they’re a class act.”

In other Saturday games:

No. 1 Cascade 63, No. 6 Marist Catholic 53

Junior guard Kaiden Ford finished with a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds for the Cougars, who bounced back from Friday’s semifinal loss against Baker and knocked off the Spartans in Saturday’s third-place game.

Landon Knox, another of Cascade’s four junior starters, added 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists as the Cougars of Turner finished 22-5 and took home a trophy for the fourth year in a row.

“It was a successful season,” Cascade coach Justin Amaya said. “We accomplished what we wanted to do — take hardware home. The Baker loss, we knew that was going to be a hard game, and we were okay with the outcome because we knew we had a chance for third place.

“We knew it would come down to who wanted it more. I’m just proud of the boys responding. We talked about winning our last game all year. It doesn’t matter what game it is. The boys did it. They won their last game.”

Cascade played with the lead for almost the entire game Saturday, taking a 12-point lead into halftime after Cruz Shank knocked down a three-pointer that made it 34-22 with 38 seconds left in the second quarter.

Marist Catholic played well enough in the second half to keep the game interesting.

After Peyton Tyner knocked down a free throw that cut Cascade’s lead to 41-36 just before the end of the third quarter, the Cougars opened the fourth quarter with a 14-4 run that pushed the lead back to 15.

The Spartans continued to battle, cutting the lead to six three times, but they couldn’t get a defensive stop when they needed one down the stretch.

Marist Catholic senior Kaden Erlenbush and sophomore Kai Holmes led the Spartans (17-9) with 14 points each. Juniors Christian Guerrero and Nick Hudson added nine points each, and Tyner chipped in a game-high 11 rebounds.

Cascade senior Andrew Kirschenmann finished with nine points in his final game for the Cougars, who return the other four starters from Saturday’s starting lineup — Anthony Best, Droiy Comstock, Ford, and Knox.

"We didn’t win this year, so we’ve just got to get back in the lab, keep working, and get ready for next year,” said Knox, a unanimous choice to the all-tournament first team. “Everybody knows what our goal is, so … that’s what we’re going to work towards.”

No. 8 Madras 72, No. 14 Crook County 62

Senior guard Seneca Ball ended his high school career with a bang, scoring a game-high 37 points with 10 rebounds, four assists, and four steals to help lift the White Buffaloes over the Cowboys of Prineville in Saturday’s fourth-place game.

Madras senior guard Maikel Poland had 10 points and seven rebounds for the White Buffaloes (20-7). Senior wing Skytus Smith added nine points, and junior center Reed Simmelink finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

The White Buffaloes won all four quarters, outscoring their Tri-Valley Conference rivals 17-15 in the first quarter, 13-11 in the second quarter, 19-17 in the third quarter, and 23-19 in the fourth quarter.

Crook County rallied from a 30-26 halftime deficit to take a 35-34 lead on a Tyson Martinez layup with 5:22 to play in the third quarter.

Madras answered with a 21-7 run that ended with Smith knocking down a three-pointer to give the White Buffaloes a 65-48 lead with 4:15 to play in the fourth quarter.

Ball, the 6-1 guard, scored 20 of his 37 points in the second half and finished the game making 11 of 22 shots from the field, 1 of 3 from three-point range, and 14 of 16 at the free-throw line.

For Crook County, senior Logan Mathews finished with 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Sophomore Jace Jones added 15 points, and sophomore Bryce Lowenbach had eight points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Cowboys (17-9).