Averaging nearly 30 points per game, it wasn’t a question of whether Casey Baker would break Conneaut Valley’s all-time scoring mark on Tuesday, but a matter of when.
But after a missed dunk to start the non-region game against Youngsville, the near capacity crowd at Conneaut Valley High School was a little bit worried. It didn’t take Baker long to erase those fears.
Baker scored on a lay-up just 40 seconds into the second half to give him 1,542 career points, moving him past Emmy Arnett Duffy to become Conneaut Valley’s all-time leading scorer. Duffy set the record in 1992 with 1,541 points. Baker finished the game with 31 points and now has 1,550 for his career.
His effort helped lead the Indians to a 67-41 win over the Eagles as Conneaut Valley improved to 4-0.
“I was real nervous coming in,” said Baker, who was fouled on his record-breaking basket and later connected on the free throw for a 3-point play. “I missed a couple lay-ups, missed a couple dunks. But it was an amazing night. It was nice to do it in front of all these fans who have been so supportive and my parents. I’m surrounded by great people.”
Baker scored 21 of his 31 points in the first half, including 13 in the second quarter that allowed the Indians to build a 37-13 halftime lead. The senior, who has yet to decide on his collegiate plans, scored the game’s first six points. And he did it all in front of Duffy herself, who presented Baker with a gift — like Ryan Smock did the day Duffy broke his scoring mark — at center court.
“I just really enjoy watching him play,” Conneaut Valley coach Bob Leupold said. “He gets better every year, and he’s just a great kid. He does it all, not just basketball, but grades-wise, helping out in the community. Everything he does, he does a great job. I’m very proud of him.”
The thing Leupold is most proud of is his star’s unselfishness. Baker led the team with eight assists last night, including a dish to sophomore Sid Smith who threw it up for the first of his two 3-pointers. The trey gave Valley a 34-11 lead with 1:12 to play in the first half.
Smith finished with nine points. Junior Nolan Varee also had an outstanding game. He finished with 20 points.
“He reminds me of Hines Ward,” Leupold said. “He wants other kids to score more than he wants to score himself. He gets so fired up when other kids score. He’s just a pleasure to be around. He really is.”
And now that the personal accomplishment is behind him, Baker has bigger goals to aim for. He wants to finish the regular season unbeaten and win a District 10 championship.