‘Welcome To The Club:’ North senior becomes third member of family to reach 1,000 points

In their high school basketball careers, Lance, Blake and Lauren Barker have combined to amass more than 4,100 points.

Lauren, a Columbus North senior, became the third member of her immediate family to reach the 1,000-point plateau during the Bull Dogs’ regular-season finale Thursday at Roncalli. Among the first congratulatory texts she received was from Blake, a sophomore on the Army men’s basketball team.

“He texted me and said, ‘Welcome to the 1,000-point club,’” Lauren said. “That made me feel good. I just look up to him so much.”

Lance is the all-time leading scorer at Columbus East with 1,735 points. After graduating in 1991, he went on to play at Valparaiso.

Blake, with 1,388 points, is second on North’s all-time boys list behind Josh Speidel’s 1,512.

“I look up to them so much,” Lauren said. “I play basketball for a lot of reasons because of what they have done and their success, but because I love it. What they have poured into me to get this goal, I’m just very thankful, and to be able to share in that with them is awesome.”

Lauren now has 1,005 points going into this week’s Shelbyville Sectional.

“Coming in, I really didn’t know what role I was going to play as an underclassman,” Barker said. “But I was very thankful for the time I was given when I was younger, and luckily, I got some points early on, which helped propel me. To reach this really wasn’t in my mind, but it’s very cool that I did.”

And Lauren definitely isn’t preoccupied with how much she is scoring.

“I always just try to go out and play,” Barker said. “It’s always about my team first for me and winning first.”

“Lauren wants to win, No. 1,” North girls coach Brett White added. “This was obviously another goal of hers, but her No. 1 goal is always for our team to be successful. I’m just glad for her because it is quite an accomplishment. Obviously, not everybody gets to that mark, and she’s been able to do that, so I’m proud of her and what she’s been able to do.”

Columbus North’s Lauren Barker drives against New Albany at Columbus North, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

The Republic file photo

Lauren leads the Bull Dogs with 14.4 points and 1.8 steals a game. She is second on the team with 1.9 assists and leads with 40 percent shooting from 3-point range and 83 percent shooting from the free-throw line.

“Lauren has really been consistent over her four years,” White said. “She hasn’t had huge numbers as far as averaging 20 or something like that, but at the same time, she’s always been steady. She’s always been somebody we can rely on. Her shooting has been consistent for four years, and her shooting percentage this year has even improved over what she had in previous years. That’s a testament to her hard work and her dedication.”

White also praised Lauren’s leadership.

“Lauren is definitely one of our leaders by example,” White said. “She’s one of our more experienced people. She and (senior point guard) Emma (Long) both have started for three years, and the other girls look to them for advice and they’re very good about taking on that role and being the leaders that we need them to be.”

North opens sectional play at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Frankin, last year’s Class 4A state runner-up. The Grizzly Cubs feature a pair of lockdown defensive guards in Lauren Klem and Erica Buening, so points could be at a premium.

“I try not to put too much pressure on myself, but when it’s something that you’re so close to, and that I want so bad, and I know Franklin will be a tough matchup, it would just be tough,” Lauren Barker said. “So I’m thankful I got it done, and I think it will ease my nerves and allow me to really focus on what our goal is for sectional.”

That goal would be winning three games to give the Bull Dogs their first sectional title since 2017. But all eyes are on Franklin at the moment.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” she said. “Obviously, we have to get through Franklin to get to anyone else. But to think that I could potentially play my last game Tuesday is not something that I really want to think about. So I know we’re going to practice hard and do our best to prepare for them, and I’m excited.”

A two-sport standout, Barker was this year’s The Republic Girls Soccer Player of the Year. She is deciding between playing both sports at Franklin College or just basketball at Bethel.

“I’m still set on playing basketball in college for sure, potentially soccer, as well,” she said. “I think I’m getting very close to making a decision, but at this point, I’m going to wait until after the season.”

Lance and his wife Ramona are proud that Blake and Lauren have been able to join Lance in the 1,000-point club.

“They both put in so much effort and hard work to achieve it,” Lance said. “A thousand is a big number, so for me, to see them put the time and the work in is a big deal. I’m just really pleased that they stuck with it through the highs and lows to get that accomplishment. Especially in today’s time with scouting with Hudl and other scouting software, I watched Lauren get boxed several times this year. It’s just not easy to do.”