Baker is a student of the game. His teams are disciplined, defensive and deliberate. The Raiders are Basketball 101. The mistakes are so few that an eight-point lead is mountain that opponents don’t scale very often.
East Carter went ahead of Fairview 8-0 and never lost the lead. The Eagles only trailed by two at the half, but the Raiders seemed to always hold a slight edge.
East is a beast with the lead.
Dad said he was proud because of Brandon’s standing in the community and the 16th Region, where the respect runs true.
“I’ve heard many comments from people outside his hometown who have said nice things about him,” Charles said. “That says a lot for him.”
Brandon’s mother, Martha Ellen, was at the championship game.
Well, sort of.
She was perched in their 2004 Honda Accord, wearing a hooded East Carter sweatshirt to stay warm while listening to the game in the parking lot. The Bakers arrived at Johnson Arena about 45 minutes before tipoff.
“She never did come in the building,” Charles said. “She just can’t stand it. It didn’t bother her when I was coaching.”
Martha joined the party when her husband let her know it was time to come in.
“There was less than a minute to play,” he said. “You never know about these games.”
Brandon Baker won’t forget his 40th birthday because it now coincides with a regional championship.
“Somebody mentioned it was my birthday,” he said. “Where I’m at now, you try not to bring birthdays up, just let them slide by.
“We’ve usually been turning in equipment on this birthday a lot of times. This is what makes this one a little more special.”
Brandon Baker and Jack Calhoun, his top assistant, are practically joined at the hip.