Dawgs Going the Distance? Baker returns to state basketball tournament

By on Thursday, March 7th, 2024 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

BAKER CITY — For the third straight season, the Baker boys basketball team is among the Elite Eight in the state.

The Bulldogs advanced to the OSAA 4A Boys State Basketball Tournament after a close win over Newport in the first round on Friday, March 1.

They now just need to win three more games to bring home the high school’s third ever championship in boys basketball, and the first since 2007. Baker won its first title in 1938, three years before America was drawn into World War Two.

They start their run for a title on Thursday, March 7 against Philomath at the tournament site in Forest Grove.

“Our guys are prepared for Philomath and I hope they continue to trust each other and play hard the entire game,” said Head Coach Jebron Jones.

Baker hasn’t gotten past the quarterfinals the previous two years, but this season has shown a more dominant and physical team. The Bulldogs are 25-1 this season and are averaging more than 72 points a game, which leads the state. 

Junior guard Isiaiah Jones leads the team with 14 points and six rebounds per game, while senior guard and EOU football-bound Paul Hobson contributes 12 points per game. Baker’s well-balanced attack includes six other players who average between six and nine points per game.

Philomath comes into the game as last year’s runner-up for the title, and also play in one of the toughest leagues in the state, the Oregon West Conference, which also boasts No. 1 Cascade and the Newport squad that almost nipped the Bulldogs last week. 

“They have big game experience and have been through some battles on the court. We are going to be the underdogs in this game,” said Coach Jones. “They are big, tough and smart and we have to be disciplined on both ends of the court, along with making some shots during the game.” The Bulldogs begin their quest for glory on Thursday at 3:15pm.