Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Aspiring young basketball players attend the youth camps at Regina each summer and leave after a week filled with dribble and shooting drills with dreams of starring for the Regals in high school.
For the first three years of his prep career Bryce Barnett worked those summer camps sharing the same dreams of the campers he coached.
This season the favorite among summer camp kids saw his dream come true.
Barnett went from a lightly used reserve to an all-conference performer on a Regina team that returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
“He has been doing it right for four straight and we have a lot of kids in this school that look up to him,” Galpin said. “He works all our youth camps in the summer with the kids, he leads by example, he’s done everything the right way for four years and it paid off for him this season.”
Barnett had to wait three years for his breakthrough season.
While he was waiting Barnett did everything he could to prepare for his opportunity.
Barnett averaged 2.5 points per game as a junior as Regina went 18-4 and fell in the district title game.
He spent the offseason prepping for an expanded role as a senior.
“He comes to every workout, I don’t think he has missed an off-season workout and he comes to practice and works his tail off every single day,” Galpin said. “He’s a kid that leads by example for all of our younger as far as how to work.”
Even as he prepared for his opportunity to take on a bigger role on the basketball team Barnett didn’t let that distract from his focus off the court.
A 3.7 student that was a standout for the Regina football team. Barnett continued to work with youths at the summer basketball camps.
He was part of the Regina Christmas Basketball program as well as being a member of the Regal Learning Program that tutors younger children in the Regina community.
“That is something that has always been enjoyable for me is being able to work with the younger kids in the school through tutoring program or basketball camp,” Barnett said.
In the first game of his senior season Barnett got the type of opportunity he had waited his entire career for.
After junior point guard Masen Miller fouled out of the season opener at Tipton with more than six minutes to play an eight-point Regina lead turned into a five-point deficit.
With the game on the line Galpin turned to his senior making his first career start to steady the ship.
“We tied it up and got a stop and we just went 1-4 low and let Bryce go one-on-one for the game winning shot and he stepped up and knocked it down,” Galpin said. “That was just the type of kid he was.”
Barnett had 14 points in the come from behind 64-62 win, including the game winner.
“I would definitely say that was a confidence booster especially in the first game of the season,” Barnett said. “That helped me just knowing that I could do things like that.”
That performance was the springboard for a strong senior season in which Barnett averaged 11.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game while being named to the River Valley Conference South Division squad.
“It was definitely a bigger role this year and I was looking forward to stepping up and being a leader on the team,” Barnett said. “I was just trying to make sure that everyone knew I was there to try to win. That was my goal to set the tone for the team a little bit.”
Barnett helped Regina post a 20-3 record and return to the state tournament for the first time since 2015 where it fell to eventual 2A runner-up Boyden-Hull 61-56 in the quarterfinals.
“It was special, it was definitely something that we all wanted to do,” Barnett said. “We had set a goal that we wanted to make it to the state tournament and our goal was to win it. It was definitely cool making we were hoping we could have gone a little bit further and made it to that Friday game but it was definitely something I will always remember.”
Barnett would like to play basketball and study marketing or business in college but hasn’t made any final decisions yet.
What Barnett has done is show those young Regina campers that the dream of being a varsity player can come true, even if it takes some time.
“I’m really happy for his success this season just for the fact that he is a basketball first player, he has played a lot of basketball growing up and he had to wait his turn,” Galpin said. “He did everything we asked, he worked and this year things fell into place for him and he was a very important piece of what we wanted to do.”