Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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March 9, 2010

MARK MAYNARD: Bakers enjoying extra special title

MOREHEAD--Father and son were sure to share a special moment at the 16th Region championship game on Monday night.

It turned out to be a fabulous night for the Baker boys.

As East Carter was putting the finishing touches on a textbook 48-38 victory over Fairview, the party was just getting ready to start.

Raider coach Brandon Baker looked across the floor where his father Charles was part of the Schoolboy Radio Network. They locked eyes.

“He pointed and I pointed back at him,” his father said.

Then they looked away, fearing the tears that were sure to follow.

Now the party could begin.

Twenty-four years ago, on

this very floor, Brandon and Charles Baker shared another memorable father-son moment when the Raiders defeated Morgan County 76-66 for the only regional title in school history.

Charles Baker was the Raiders coach and son Brandon was a sophomore starting point guard.

It was exciting, but this may have topped it. Both of them understand how long the journey to a regional title can be.

“Any parent wants to see their kid succeed,” Charles Baker said. “I’m so proud of him. I can’t describe it. You know how hard it is to get here. It happened in ‘86 and never before then.”

Now the ‘86 team has a match with Bakers as bookends.

“When you grow up in Kentucky you’re just a basketball fan from day one,” Brandon Baker said. “Just to get to play on Rupp Arena court, it’s like a fantasy. When you get to live your fantasy, that’s what it’s all about. I’m tickled to death for these guys.”

Brandon Baker will experience the thrill of coaching in Rupp Arena a week from Wednesday.

Brandon is a coaching star in the 16th Region. He took over East Carter’s program in 2002, trying to follow in the footsteps of a region legend that he also called Dad.

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