TOPEKA – January has been a tough month for Topeka High.
The Trojans have lost five straight including all three in the Topeka Invitational Tournament.
“It was a wake-up call for sure,” Topeka High senior point guard Josh Barber (pictured right) said of the T.I.T. “Going 0-3 was definitely not what we planned on doing, but there are some things that we can learn from and we have to come back next week ready to get better.”
Topeka High (4-8) began the month with a loss to Junction City and then beat Manhattan before their five-game slide.
“We have to defend better, definitely need to box out, we’re just struggling to put the ball in the basket right now,” Barber said.
While the Trojans have struggled of late, Barber has been playing well averaging 15.3 points in the T.I.T., which ranked ninth amongst all players, to go along with 3.0 assists a game.
“I didn’t do enough because we didn’t win,” Barber said.
He scored 18 points, one shy of his season-high, in the seventh place game against Topeka West.
In the previous game Barber had 16 points in a 54-49 loss to Wichita Southeast led by junior Jerrick Harding, who had 21 points, but just four after halftime.
“I thought we did a good job of containing him,” Barber said. “We came out with a lack of energy early and dug ourselves a hole. We had to fight hard to get back in the game in the second half and we kind of ran out of gas and couldn’t make plays down the stretch.”
Barber leads the Trojans in scoring at 11.9 a game and is averaging 3.8 assists—both are career-highs. He also leads the team with 13 3-pointers and is shooting 41.9 percent from the field.
Although he’s playing better than a year ago when he averaged 8.3 points and 2.0 assists and shot 31.2 percent, the team is off their pace from a year ago when they finished 13-9.
“This season hasn’t got as I had planned,” Barber said. “But we still have time to get better.”
Topeka High is off this week and will utilize the time to correct issues in practice.
“We just have to go get after it, get after each other, a lot of intensity, and work on the things that we need to work on,” Barber said.
Topeka High will look to turn the page on the month of January with a 1-6 mark and will return to action on Feb. 3 against Highland Park, which they beat 62-47 on Dec. 16. Barber will be looking to duplicate his performance when he set season-highs in points (19) and assists (8).