The East Valley girls basketball scene just might be in a golden era.
Whether it was four teams advancing to respective state championship games, which led to three teams cutting down the net, or the individual talent going up and down the court, the level of play may have never been higher than the 2016-17 season.
It can make it difficult to nail down a player of the year. There are varying opinions and plenty of stats to digest.
There has to be a separator. Something that places one above the rest. Sarah Barcello has quite a few.
It led to Seton Catholic junior guard being named the Tribune Girls Basketball Players of the Year after averaging 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 steals.
“When you look at everything she did for us, Sarah took over games when she had to on both ends of the court,” Seton Catholic coach Karen Self said. “When she was out (because of a concussion), it completely changed the dynamic of our team.”
When she wasn’t in the lineup against Cactus Shadows, Seton Catholic lost 54-41 on Jan. 20. With her, the Sentinels cruised 62-27 in the 4A Conference championship game against Cactus Shadows.
In a big November showdown with Mesquite, the 5A Conference champs, she played a big part in holding Lindsey VanAllen, who averaged 17.8 per games, to her lowest scoring (2 points on 1 of 9 shooting) game of the year.
“She was all over that court that game,” Self said. “Lindsey had an off night, and Sarah was a big reason why.”
In a stretch from Jan. 6 through 13, either LeeAnne or Jenn Wirth, or both, missed games because of injuries. During those games, Barcello averaged 28.5 points a game over a four-game stretch.
“I wanted to do what was best for my team, and we had some players out, so we all had to contribute more,” she said. “I was doing my part to make sure we won.”
The Sentinels win a lot no matter who is coming through the program. They have made the state title game all three years with Barcello and have won two straight championships.
It’s been a good fit for Barcello, whose older sister, Julia, played for Seton. She has another year to try and surpass her brother, Alex, and the two state titles he won at Corona del Sol in three appearances.
Sarah, who shot 52 percent from the field, sharpened her skills playing against and working with Alex, a former Tribune Player of the Year.
“He pushes me, all of my siblings do,” she said. “All I want to do every time I play is do everything I can to help my team win, no matter what it takes and that’s what I’ve always tried to do.”
– Contact Jason Skoda at 480-898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.
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