Teams prepare for Toriano “Tito” Baker Classic

Published 4:52 pm Thursday, December 7, 2023

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On Dec. 9, The Calhoun School will host the third annual Toriano “Tito” Baker Classic basketball tournament presented by Lowndes County Athletics.

According to Lowndes County Athletic Director Nick Rankins, the annual tournament was founded as a way to pay homage to the late coach and principal who is remembered for pouring into Lowndes County schools.

“The classic was created in memory of the late Mr. Tito Baker,” Rankins said. “Mr. Baker served Lowndes County Public Schools as a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal. Mr. Baker was dedicated to his job and the students he served. The Classic will feature all basketball teams in Lowndes County where Mr. Baker played a huge part in sports.”

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Baker, who passed away in May 2021, not only served as a principal, classroom instructor, coach, and athletic director within Lowndes County Public Schools, but was also an avid and record setting basketball player himself, leaving an impressive legacy upon the Faulkner University Eagles basketball team.

During his time with the Eagles, Baker was a three-time First Team All-SSC (Sunshine State Conference) player, a two-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Honorable Mention All-American, and the second leading scorer in program history. With 1,753 career points, Baker ranks among the highest totals in the mens’ Eagles basketball history,

In his biography, Baker discussed his deep roots within Lowndes County as well as his mission to develop a culture of greatness within the county’s schools.

“I am a proud native of Lowndes County, where I graduated from The Calhoun High School. I am honored to work in the community where I was raised as an educator,” Baker wrote. “It has been my desire to set the expectation for our children to be a beacon of light that shines brightly amongst other school districts. It has always been my belief that hard work pays off.”

Tip off for the third annual Toriano “Tito” Baker Classic will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday as the Lowndes Middle School girls take on Hayneville Middle School. At 10 a.m. the Lowndes Middle School boys will face Capitol Heights, followed by a match between the Hayneville Middle School boys and Lead Academy at 11 a.m.

The schedule heats up at 12 p.m. as the Calhoun varsity Lady Tigers go head to head with Central Hayneville. At 1:30 p.m. the Central Hayneville boys varsity Lions will face Frances Marion before the final face-off of the day between the Calhoun varsity boys Tigers and Sidney Lanier at 3 p.m.