By KEN MORSE
Plainville senior Caitlin Barker has achieved what most find impossible. On the surface it may not seem so improbable as teams across the state have had players break the coveted 1,000 point mark. What Barker accomplished was a feat that took only a little over two and a half seasons.
“To be able to celebrate this moment with my teammates means the world to me,” said Barker. “This is a great group of girls and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do this without them.”
As a freshman Caitlin got noticed knocking down 244 points for a 12 point average on a team that was rebuilding finishing 3-17. Barker showed the same scoring ability in her sophomore season racking up 45 points in four games as the Lady Blue Devils were turning the corner at 2-2.
Then the worst case scenario showed up as Barker tore her ACL and was lost for the season. She tried not to think about all that was lost including her ambitious dream of breaking the 1,000 point mark.
“After losing almost all of my sophomore season I just tried to put that career mark in the back of my mind,” she said. “I just thought this would never happen.”
The Blue Devils junior perimeter threat showed up the following season with a determination to put the injury behind her. She was la different player, taking charge on the court and scoring 413 points.
“In my opinion Caitlin is underrated,” said Plainville head coach Jess Neuweiler. Few outside the conference have ever heard of her, and there aren’t a lot of players scoring 1,000 points in three years. “You look at the type of player she is and the commitment she had to come back from that injury, I never had a doubt that she would come back even a better player than she was. I’m tough on her because I know how much she is capable of.”
The senior co-captain and last season’s All-CCC forward was on track, hitting 155 points in just the first seven games this season, leading her team to its second straight holiday tournament championship. Suddenly, it was within reach.
Barker took off and hit the 30 point mark three times over the next six games including a 32 point performance on the night she broke the mark against East Hartford.
“I just went out and tired to help my team be successful,” said Barker. “When I finally hit that last shot I sunk to my knees overcome with a series of emotions.”
With six games remaining Caitlin will get the opportunity to move up the list of 9 names that are on the banner at the far end of the Ivan Wood Gymnasium wall proclaiming the other 1,000 point Blue Devils scorers.
Playing beyond high school at the college level is a real probability but she hasn’t made a final decision yet. The senior forward has a few schools in her sights. Emmanuel, St. Joseph and Norwich are just a few of the Division III schools she is looking at while others have shown interest.
Where ever she ends up playing the lessons she has learned over her four years with the Blue Devils will go a long way in paving the success on her next journey.