Sarah Ashlee Barker named state’s Miss Basketball winner

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

A stellar career has now come to an end for Spain Park senior Sarah Ashlee Barker, but it full feels complete after the announcement was made on Friday night, April 3, that the University of Georgia signee had been named the state’s Miss Basketball winner.

Taking home the award, Barker is now considered unquestionably the best player in the state of Alabama after leading the Jaguars on a redemption path to the Class 7A state championship this year.

She is also the first Spain Park player to win the award and just the second player from Shelby County to ever win the award after Calera’s Shanavia Dowdell won in 2006.

With that honor, she has now been named the state’s best player, the Shelby County Player of the Year, 7A Player of the Year, to the All-County First Team and to the All-State First Team.

The senior was also named the 2019-20 Alabama Gatorade Girls Player of the Year back on March 6, which recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.

During the run to this year’s Class 7A State Championship win over crosstown rival Hoover, the 6-foot senior athlete led Spain Park to a 32-4 overall record, while averaging a double-double at 23.3 points and 10 rebounds per game.

It marks the second year in a row that Barker has averaged at least 20 points and nine rebounds after averaging 20.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last year. As a sophomore, she averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while she was also key in a run to the state championship game her freshman season a year after tearing her ACL.

During her freshman season, the Jaguars went on to lose to Hoover in the state championship game, and while they came back to win the title during her sophomore year against McGill-Toolen, there was some unfinished business.

Spain Park then lost in the Elite Eight last season against Hewitt-Trussville, but determined to get back to the Final Four and the state championship, Barker helped will her team on a redemption path as a senior.

Not only did the Jags get back, but they matched up with rival Hoover again. This time around, they didn’t let history repeat itself by picking up a 47-44 win to help Barker’s career come full circle.

In the championship game, Barker went on to post 14 points and 10 rebounds despite fouling out with more than two minutes remaining.

But her leadership was key as well.

Lifting her team up early in the season and helping them overcome adversity, helped them lift her up late in the season. That was evident in the final few minutes of the championship game.

Barker closed her career with three state championship appearances over the last four years, two state championships in the last three years and by making it to at least the Elite Eight in all four years with the Jaguars.

The winner of the Miss Basketball award was announced on Friday, April 3. Visit Shelbycountyreporter.com to see the results.