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The 2019-20 Walker County Girls' Basketball Player of the Year - LaFayette junior LaTyah Barber

Coming off a solid freshman season, LaFayette’s LaTyah Barber took a big step as a sophomore for the ever-improving Lady Ramblers.

Barber put up averages of 13.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.9 steals and 3.8 assists to earn Walker County Girls’ Player of the Year honors and help her team take a big jump in the win column from the season before.

And that trend continued this past season.

Now a seasoned veteran, the junior had another stellar year for the Orange-and-Black, one that led to another All-Region first team selection and Walker County Girls’ Player of the Year honors for a second straight season.

Barber made a statement in the very first game of the year against Adairsville as she flirted with a rare quadruple-double, scoring 30 points to go with nine rebounds, nine steals and six assists against the Lady Tigers to set the tone for the season.

She approached quadruple-double territory two more times during the year, including a 22-point, five-rebound, seven-assist, seven-steal performance against Southeast Whitfield and a 17-point, six-rebound, seven-assist and six-steal showing against Ridgeland.

She crossed the 20-point mark on seven occasions and finished the year by averaging 16.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 4.5 steals, often times bringing the ball up the floor herself as the team’s point guard.

LaFayette head coach Holly Rhudy said her standout is the type of player every coach wants on their team.

“She works on her game year-round and she’s very selfless,” Rhudy began. “She wants to give everything to her team and she leaves everything on the floor, game after game, which can be seen in her stats. All players like to score, but she takes pride in other stats, such as assists, steals and rebounds. She was our leading rebounder last season and was our second-leading rebounder this season.”

But not only did her statistics improve, so did her knowledge as far as being a true floor general for LaFayette, who not only finished with a winning record (15-12), but qualified for the GHSA state tournament for the first time in program history.

Rhudy said Barber’s work on her all-around game was a direct factor in the Lady Ramblers’ success as a team during the 2019-20 season.

“I believe this year was a turning point for her mentally,” the coach continued. “She understood more about how big of a leader she had to be by running the point guard position, but the biggest change I noticed from last season to this season was her being vocal.

“I could constantly hear her talking in drills to her teammates. She was always encouraging them and telling them to push and want more. She carried this quality over to the games as well. I can’t begin to count the number of times I heard her tell her teammates ‘come on’, ‘we got this’ and ‘let’s do this’. Her being so vocal stood out to me because she used to be very quiet and reserved.”

With another season left on the court and a number of key pieces returning for next year, Rhudy is already optimistic for Barber’s senior season and for the years to come.

“It’s hard to believe that she’ll be a senior next year,” Rhudy added. “She came into a program that was down, but she has been committed to being a part of taking the program to places it has never been before. I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds for her next season and beyond.”

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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