Meadville Tribune

Sports

April 3, 2013

Baker key in bringing Eagles program together

MEADVILLE — No one knew just how it would go.

When Conneaut School District announced the merges of Linesville, Conneaut Valley and Conneaut Lake last year, there was quite a bit of skepticism, particularly on the athletic front.

How would players, who were once supposed to despise those from the other two schools, come together as one and compete for the same goal?

Well … just ask Kristen Baker.

Not once has Baker questioned the merger or what role she, as a standout athlete from Conneaut Valley, would play once school began this past August. Instead, she has made the very most of the opportunity and has played a pretty big role in what has, so far, been a successful year at Conneaut Area Senior High School, particularly this basketball season.

The junior accounted for nearly 30 percent of the Eagles’ scoring and thrived on the defensive end of the court to lead Conneaut to a 19-4 mark overall, a 12-0 record in Region 3 and the District 10 Class AAA playoffs in its inaugural campaign.

It is Baker’s consistency throughout the season and the impact she made on and off the court that made her an easy pick for the 2013 Meadville Tribune Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

“In a nutshell, she’s a natural athlete,” said Conneaut head coach Bill Stevenson. “She is 100 percent all of the time. Even when you were teaching her something new or correcting something, it’s all effort.”

And it’s all effort all the time for Baker for one reason: She wants to win. Not as an individual, but as CASH. She wants to see it work.

“We all just came together the first practice and knew what we wanted to get done this season,” Baker said. “And we strived for that goal every practice and worked harder and harder every day.”

It didn’t matter who wore orange or maroon or black prior to this season.

“That was what it all came down to,” Baker said. “We knew what we wanted to get done and we came together as one big family and got it done.”

Thanks, again, to the example Baker set.

“I think she had a lot to do with it,” Stevenson said. “She’s a great student, a great athlete. She is involved in probably every club there is (at CASH). She’s a dynamic kid and is helping to bring these three schools together.

“She is everything you would want a daughter to be: A good student, a good athlete and just a good kid.”

Baker wound up averaging 14.9 points and six rebounds per contest, and together with Challen Litwiler formed one of the most potent tandems in the district.

The two combined to score 602 points on the year — more than half of the Eagles’ 1,111 point total.

“They worked extremely well together,” Stevenson said. “They worked the high-low together … Defensively they worked well together. They complimented each other very well.”

It was that defensive game that helped Baker stand out and something she said she takes great pride in. Baker’s task at Conneaut was to play out front in its press. She was able to snatch away the ball frequently and turned those steals into either easy layups or assists to Litwiler.

“I feel my defense is the best thing I do on the basketball court,” Baker said. “I feel it is probably the most important part of the game.”

And it certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

“Baker was probably the most consistent player this year,” Saegertown coach Steve Scott said. “She was tough, especially defensively.”

Yet, still, it’s the team’s finish at the end of the day that satisfied Baker the most and has made her even more hungry for the 2014 season to begin. Stevenson, too.

“I am very pleased with how the season went,” he said. “We lost four games. Two at the beginning, Grove City and then Franklin (in the playoffs).

“We don’t quite have what it takes to be a triple-A team yet. It’s such a different style of game. I think we made vast improvement. We beat some quality teams and we played really well with other ones. But we’re not a triple-A school yet. We’re trying to be. But really we are still three single-A teams put together.

“Our mentality is we’re a triple-A team, but our performance hasn’t met that expectation.”

The key now is that the Eagles know what it takes to get there.

“I’m expecting a very, very good summer,” Stevenson said. “We know we have to be in a gym all summer. We have to play all season long to get where we want to be.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Kyle Wise Panthers rally to beat Huskies

    Through three innings Tuesday afternoon at home, it looked like it was going to be a very long day for the Saegertown baseball team.
    The wind and the cold didn’t appear to bother Harbor Creek starting pitcher Issac Mattson as the senior struck out nine batters through the first three frames, including four strikeouts in the first inning alone.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greggs and Bison knock Bulldogs down to earth

    Back to reality.
    Coming off one of its biggest wins in recent years on Friday with a 10-5 victory over previously unbeaten Saegertown, Meadville fell victim to possibly being over confident against Fort LeBoeuf.

    April 22, 2014

  • Devils sweep Tigers

    Just six days earlier, the Cambridge Springs boys volleyball coaching staff sat on the sidelines at Saegertown High School perplexed and disappointed as they watched the Blue Devils give away opportunity after opportunity.

    April 22, 2014

  • Abby Clulow Cardinals overcome offensive woes to remain unbeaten

    Abby Clulow is confident that sooner or later the bats are going to come alive for the Cochranton softball team. She is also pretty confident that until then the Lady Cardinals will continue to find a way to get the job done.
    After all, how could she feel any differently?

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fight.jpg Brewers win in 14th after early brawl with Pirates

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pivotal Game 3 awaits Pens and Blue Jackets

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jacket_DiRi.jpg Blue Jackets edge Penguins 4-3 in double overtime

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • College Softball: DePauw earns NCAC sweep over Allegheny

    It’s gut-check time for the Allegheny College softball team.

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggs.jpg Big first inning leads Meadville to win over Saegertown

    So, how does one go about beating the Saegertown baseball team? It’s a question that District 10 programs have been asking themselves for years now.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taylor, Osborne lead Panthers to 12-1 win over CASH

    Saegertown freshman Kendra Taylor had no reason to believe that Friday afternoon’s non-region softball game would go like any other.

    April 18, 2014

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Poll

In terms of the overall livability and workability of the City of Meadville, which component of the city’s infrastructure should receive top priority?

Streets
Stormwater control
Parks
Other
It’s too difficult to single one out
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks