By Peter Day
Lucerne Valley High School girls basketball coach Brandon Barkley, who has again led Lady Mustangs into post-season play, has been named the Agape Valley League’s “Coach of the Year.”
“It’s a nice honor to be recognized by other coaches in our league,” said Barkley, an LVHS mathematics teacher who also serves as the school’s athletic director. “I feel that my team, playing as a team, helped win this award.”
In his sixth year as coach of the girls team, Barkley has an overall record of 77-64 with five playoff appearances and one Agape League title. He served as assistant coach for the boys basketball team upon arrival to Lucerne Valley and was head coach for boys for two years, from 2017 through 2019, and had a record of 15-37. Prior to coming to Lucerne Valley, Barkley was an assistant coach for eight years at Woodcrest Christian in Riverside.
This is Barkley’s second Coach of the Year award as he won it in 2016-2017 with a team that went to the Quarterfinals and finished with a record of 17-9.
Several Lady Mustangs will graduate later this year, including stars Brenda Almonte and career top scorer Krystian Otwell, but the coach is optimistic his players will take up any slack and show their spirit.
“Next year will be an interesting year,” Barkley said. “I may lose four of the 10 girls, so we have to see. I know that (point guard) Ruby Thompson is going to absolutely dominate for us as a senior.”
The Lady Mustangs will travel to Vista del Lago (Moreno Valley) on Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. for a C.I.F. Division 5A quarterfinal game. Both Vista del Lago and Lucerne Valley survived close second-round games last weekend. Lucerne Valley beat Coastal Christian 32-30, while Vista del Lago also won by two points, defeating Santa Clarita Christian 45-43.
Peter Day currently is a social media advisor for the Lucerne Valley Unified School District.
Brandon Barkley after giving a high-five to Lady Mustang career scoring leader Krystian Otwell during Lucerne Valley’s dominant 33-11 performance against Packinghouse Christian on February 13. Photo by Peter Day