LaTyah Barber exploded on to the north Georgia high school basketball scene a year ago as a freshman, but for those who follow hoops in the area, it was hardly a surprise.
After some outstanding games and seasons at Saddle Ridge Middle School, including a memorable 22-point, 10-rebound, nine-steal performance in a win over Lakeview as an eighth-grader, the guard made a big impression in her very first game in orange and black as she scored 23 points, grabbed eight boards and blocked three shots in her high school debut against North Murray.
She went on to have some more memorable moments last season, including a Chattooga Christmas Tournament win over Class 6A Chattahoochee that saw her flirt with a rare quadruple-double (24 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, six steals).
However, it was this past season when Barber began showing the signs of becoming a true on-court leader.
With a game that she spent the off-season refining and with more confidence and consistency, the sophomore guard helped lead the Lady Ramblers from four wins in her freshman season to 13 this past year. That nine-victory swing earned LaFayette the “Most Improved Team” award this among Class 4A girls’ programs from the Georgia prep basketball website, SandySpiel.com.
“I think my game improved just by how I reacted whenever things went bad,” Barber said. “I got better and learned from my mistakes from last year. I really just learned how to better myself and playing (off-season) AAU ball also helped a lot.”
This past season, Barber not only led, but complimented the rest of her team by averaging 13.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.9 steals and 3.8 assists per game. However, she also showed that she could still take over a game when needed as evidenced by her 26-point, 10-rebound, 10-steal night in a December victory over Southeast Whitfield..
Barber went on to earn 6-AAAA first team All-Region status and, today, she is being named as the Walker County Girls’ Player of the Year.
“It feels good,” she said of the honor. “I’m glad I have the opportunity to be the Player of the Year. This year was way better than last season.”
And next year could prove to be even better. With the vast majority of the team returning, including most of its scoring and rebounding, Barber believes big things could be in store for her and her teammates.
“I think we can be super good,” she added. “I’m really hoping we make it to state next year.”