It’s been a long time coming for Brielle Baker.
The Creston girls all-time leading scorer in program history admitted Wednesday basketball has always been her favorite sport.
Continuing to shoot hoops after high school became official Wednesday as Baker signed with Southwestern Community College.
“It feels incredible. ... Knowing that I get to play it at the next level and in front of my home crowd is going to be nice,” said Baker.
Staying local was important for Baker, who ended her career with 1,189 points in a Panther uniform, as going to college right down the road played a big part in her decision process.
“Because it’s so close to home that really was a major factor,” Baker said.
With two younger siblings, Brance and Braelyn, still participating in athletics at the high school level, Brielle wanted to continue being able to see her family members compete.
As a second team all-state player in Class 3A her senior season, Baker left with more than just the Creston scoring record, also ending her high school career with the most steals (184). She also was second in Panther history in assists (198) and 3-point field goals made (122).
Southwestern head coach Bryan Austin doesn’t envision Baker having to change much in order to fit the Spartan system and expects the newest SWCC athlete to retain her spot as a two-guard.
“Leadership, toughness, she’s a multiple sport athlete, ... being Creston’s all-time leading scorer we’re looking for her to come in and do some of that for us,” said Austin. “We’re looking for her to play that two spot for us, just with her scoring capabilities.”
Austin reciprocated his new guard’s feeling of staying local and added how excited he was to sign a talent playing next door.
“I had a mentor ... tell me ‘sometimes you have to get some local kids’ and we’re fortunate enough to get a very good local kid,” said Austin. “Her bringing her family and her friends and people who know her out to games, I think that’s great for the women’s basketball team.”
Baker is also currently competing in track and field at Creston where she will earn her fourth varsity letter at season’s end and completed three varsity letter-winning years in cross country. Baker is also a three-time varsity letterwinner in softball.
Baker hasn’t completely decided on a field of study as Southwestern, but has narrowed down the options to education or sports management with hopes of using her time at SWCC to help decide what’s best.