Lakeside High basketball standout senior Bria Baker is looking forward to what the team’s 2012-13 campaign will bring.
“I’m very excited because it’s the last year,” said Baker. “You’ve just gotta go all out.”
The 5-foot-3 point guard has been a fixture on the Lady Panthers team since arriving at Lakeside. She is coming off a season in which she averaged 10.7 points per game and a county-best 7.0 assists per game. She also was named to the 2011-12 All-County team and was second team All-Region.
“She’s been with us since ninth grade,” said girls head coach Drew Shelton. “She was getting time with varsity in ninth grade and this will be her third year of starting. I think what makes her a good player is just her passion for the game. She has the needed skills for the game.”
Baker has had time to hone those skills.
“I started playing rec when I was little, maybe 6 years old, and ever since then I’ve been playing basketball,” said Baker.
The camaraderie is one of the things she is drawn to most.
“The thing I love about basketball is the team bonding,” Baker said. “When you get a bond with them, you play better. The best bond I have out here is with (starting forward) Rosalyn Talley. Together we’re unstoppable because we’ve been playing together forever.”
Over the summer, Baker played for a local AAU team with Talley and a group of her county competitors. They made it to the 11th-Grade Division II National Championships. The bond with the other girls remains – off the court.
“It actually worked out pretty good,” Baker said. “I was on Pro Vision this summer and he took all the good girls from Evans, Greenbrier, Grovetown and we played well as a team together. It’s like when we’re on the court we’re enemies, but afterward we’re friends again.”
Scoring and handing out assists are the same to Baker.
“It really doesn’t matter to me,” she said. “I like doing both, but one of my coaches for AAU told me giving an assist is like giving your own points because the team gets the points. So it’s pretty good to do that, too.”
Shelton is appreciative of that attitude.
“She gets a lot of her points, really, in transition, off turnovers and things like that,” Shelton said. “She doesn’t care about scoring. If the team wins that’s all she cares about. She doesn’t mind sharing the ball with other people.”
Playing basketball at the collegiate level is something she has her sights set on.
“I wanted to go to Tennessee, but that’s kind of a hard decision because they’re D-1,” she said. “But I’m trying to get into just whatever comes to me and I’ll be glad.”