Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Coach Jebron Jones knew his Baker boys basketball team had the potential for plentiful distractions at the North Valley Winter Blast tournament.

The Bulldogs had traveled most of the way across Oregon, they were staying in a motel, and it was Christmas break besides.

But Jones said the players not only maintained their focus, they strengthened their bonds while winning all three games and extending their win streak to seven.

“It was cool to see the boys trust each other and play together more,” Jones said. “Just being together as a team brought them closer. It was a good bonding trip.”

After rallying from a 7-point halftime deficit to beat North Valley 56-43 on Thursday, Baker was in control from the start in beating South Umpqua 69-40 on Friday and Brookings-Harbor 70-52 on Saturday.

Baker’s defense was a key in all three wins, Jones said.

“To be a great team you’ve got to play defense,” he said.

He was especially pleased that the Bulldogs played their best defense in the final quarter of Saturday’s win, when they might have been expected to be tired.

The Bulldogs held Brookings-Harbor to only one point in that quarter.

“Defense is basically heart and effort, how hard you want to play,” Jones said.

Caden Long led Baker with 59 points in the three games. Kaden Sand had 55 and Gabe Gambleton 37. Zach Schwin scored 13 points against South Umpqua.

Baker, 10-2 overall, plays host to Fruitland, Idaho, Friday at 7 p.m. before starting Greater Oregon League play Saturday against Mac-Hi, also in the Baker gym.

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