COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Heartland Christian boys basketball team has experienced quite an impressive turnaround over the last two years.
Before that, the Lions won just eight games in a three-year stretch. Now this season, they’ve already equaled that win mark at 8-3.
Senior Steven Baker has a lot to do with their success, as a four-year starter and one of the Lions’ top performers on and off the court. For his efforts, Steven has earned the honor of our “Student Athlete of the Week.”
Steven has always been a fierce competitor on the court and even at home, where he’s the fourth of five siblings.
“Yeah, I always get joked around that I’m the little brother and I’m always like nagging people but I am probably one of the most competitive in the family,” Baker said. “My siblings and I, ever since we were young, we’ve always been competing.”
Steven has done just that at Heartland Christian as the Lions’ most consistent player, averaging 10 points and six rebounds over the past four years. He’s helped jump-start the program’s resurgence with eight wins already this season, including big victories over Crestview and Jackson-Milton.
“Coach [Josh] Scott came in and really worked us hard,” Baker said. “We talk about how teams used to just laugh at Heartland, just put it on the schedule, put it as an easy win. Now, we’re competing against every team we play.”
Off the court, Steven hits the mark in the classroom with a 3.7 GPA. He’s also a member of the school’s mentorship program for younger students. Next year, he plans on attending YSU.
“My dad has always been letting me know what my report card says and what I have to do to get opportunities from other schools if I keep my grades up,” Baker said. “The teachers at Heartland are always willing to answer questions and they really do care.”
Steven is an active member of his church and their youth group. He also volunteers his time on mission trips, making his faith a priority.
“We put it out on the court. We’re always told we do it to honor God and not ourselves,” he said. “So faith plays a big role in my life as it’s usually the thing that keeps me going. It’s the core of my mentality.”