AUGUSTA — Cody Laweryson took a patient approach Saturday afternoon in the Class D boys’ basketball state championship game.

The Valley High senior has seen just about every defensive scheme, designed to cut into his 24-point average. He saw at least four against Easton on Saturday, but when it came time to turn it on he responded.

The 6-foot-4 swingman scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and punctuated his effort with a thunderous two-handed dunk in the closing seconds to lead the Cavaliers to a 55-44 victory.

The victory capped an unbeaten season for Valley (21-0), which earned its first state title since 2003, when the Cavaliers won a state-record sixth in a row.

“We finally ended the drought,” Laweryson said. “We finally got the state championship we’ve been looking for since this summer.”

Easton (15-7) opened with a box-and-one defense against Laweryson and later went to a diamond and one and a triangle and two. He handled it well and relied on his teammates.

“I trust all my other teammates,” he said. “I’m not going to force anything just because I’ve got two guys on me whenever I touch the ball.”

Collin Miller, a senior, turned in a strong effort with 16 points and eight rebounds. Austin Cates, a junior, scored 11 points.

“We talked all week long (that) we knew (what) was coming,” Valley Coach Luke Hartwell said of Easton’s defensive schemes. “We saw three different films. We said it’s going to be options three, four and five that are going to be the difference if we win a state championship or not.

“Collin was huge today. I thought Luke Malloy, our point guard, was poised and composed. And finally, Austin, did a fantastic job at both ends of the floor.”

The Cavs didn’t trail after taking a 10-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Malloy, Nathan Ames and Laweryson each hit 3-pointers in the first quarter to stake Valley to a 22-12 lead.

The Bears (15-7) didn’t fold. Logan Halvorson and Drew Sotomayor hit clutch baskets in the second quarter, and Easton held Valley to five points as it cut the deficit to 27-25 at intermission.

Cates opened the second half with a driving layup and a putback, but the Bears came back behind junior forward Jacob Flewelling (20 points). He countered Laweryson’s 3 to open the fourth quarter with a pair of hoops in the paint, then Sotomayor nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to cut the lead to 44-42.

“I think if a couple more shots would have gone our way it could have been a different game,” Easton Coach Manny Martinez said. “That game could have gone either way. I think both teams left it out there on the court.”

The Bears made just one more basket the rest of the way, and Laweryson and Miller combined for nine straight points as Valley pulled away.