Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


February 6, 2014

Baker emerges as leader for Neoga

Indians' senior tops 1,000 points

NEOGA — Under new coach Bob Lockart, Jake Baker has had to handle less of the scoring load for the Neoga Indians, and his coach is proud of the improvements to his all-around game.

Despite averaging nearly three fewer points per contest this season, Baker hit a career milestone Saturday for Neoga, scoring his 1,000th career point in an NTC tournament game against Dieterich.

Lockart said the team has benefited from having Baker, in more ways than just as a scorer.

"He comes every day, works at it," Lockart said. "He's improved defensively, rebounding the ball, of course."

For Baker, a senior who is averaging 13.7 points per game in 2014, down from 16.9 as a junior, he was conflicted about what it meant.

"I guess it doesn't mean that much, it shows I can score, and that's about it," he said. "I'm proud of it."

He reached the milestone during the third quarter of the third-place game against Dieterich, tearing off nine quick points and hitting the milestone on a 3-pointer near the end of the quarter.

Baker becomes the first Indian to reach the 1,000 point milestone since T.J. Roy accomplished the feat in 2012, part of a stellar season for Neoga.

That was Baker's first season as a starter, and he can point back to that sophomore season to show how he's become a different player as a senior.

"I've changed a lot," he said. "I'm more of a leader. Leadership's a lot more important than scoring. I'm talking to everybody, chewing people out, talking to refs."

The leadership was something Lockart noticed as well, but realized that his senior star went about it in his own way.

"He's just that good natured kid that leads by example, instead of the vocal thing," Lockart said. "The rest of the team enjoys playing with him, and respects him."

The Indians struggled out of the gate, but played some of their best basketball of the season at the NTC tournament last week, pushing top-seeded St. Anthony and third-seeded Dieterich to the wire.

They sit at 9-13 on the season, and with Baker's time as an Indian and on the basketball court for his career winding down, he has the same goal as many of his cohorts who hit 1,000 points last week.

"Win regionals, get as far as we can," he said. "That's about it."


Text Only
  • McNamee.jpg McNamee: Questions about EIU's Jimmy G

    The typical phrase used in situations like this, I think, is: “He shows potential.” I may not have believed anything I was saying, but at least he was in line to be a four-year starter; at least, he had that.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Booker.jpg Pirates push past Flaming Hearts 10-2

    It took a bit for the bats to warm up, but Cumberland made the necessary adjustments at the plate and took down Effingham 10-2 Wednesday afternoon.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bohnhoff.jpg Newton walks off against Dieterich

    For the second straight game, Newton earned a win via the walkoff, this time as Caleb Chesnut drove in the game-winning run with two outs to down Dieterich 5-4.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Niebs.jpg Walsh, Bulldogs fend off Newton 17-8

    Makayla Walsh played the role of starter and stopper.
    She relieved St. Anthony pitcher Jenna Woltman, who was struggling to locate her pitches, and stopped the bleeding during a four-run fourth inning.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Foreman.JPG Flaming Hearts handle Olney

    Effingham cruised to its second dual win of the year, taking all nine matches from Olney Tuesday afternoon.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearts 5th, St. A 8th at Troy

    Effingham went 3-1 at the Troy Triad Invitational Saturday to earn fifth place overall, while crosstown counterpart St. Anthony went 1-3 and finished eighth.

    April 14, 2014

  • DSC_0281.JPG Lady Shoes stay unbeaten

    The Lady Shoes kept rolling at the Pinckneyville Showcase, winning both games and moving to a perfect 12-0.
    Teutopolis fell behind 3-0 to Pinckneyville after one and it took them until the fourth to get on the board, but once they did, they put up 12 runs in three innings for the 12-6 win.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Herrmann.jpg Bulldogs blow out BCCH 21-2

    St. Anthony base runners were active on Wednesday, taking 20 extra bags by steals or passed balls during the Bulldogs' 21-2 rout.
    Morgan Gardewine finished among the most greedy, scoring twice on passed balls in a 10-run third inning, while collecting one steal and advancing two other times.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Deters.jpg A Deters dynasty

    Seven years after her sister committed to Lake Lake College, Jillian Deters did the same.
    The National Trail Conference most valuable player will play her college basketball for the Lakers, a program she knows almost inside and out after watching her sister, Mallory, play for them.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • ZGardewine.jpg Gardewine sharp in St. Anthony win

    St. Anthony kept the pressure on from the get-go both on the mound and the basepaths and beat the reigning NTC champion South Central Cougars 8-2.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.