Anna Barry

School: Central Bucks East



Favorite athlete: Caitlin Clark

Favorite team: Iowa

Favorite memory competing in sports: Winning the championship in Florida this year. 

Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports:  When one of my teammates tripped while running backwards in a game. 

Music on playlist: Country

Future plans: Study biochemistry at Penn State University 

Words to live by: “Act like the person you want to become.”

One goal before turning 30: Travel

One thing people don’t know about me: I was born in New Jersey. 

By Mary Jane Souder

It’s a story Liz Potash kept in her back pocket for a long time.

The Central Bucks East basketball coach finally pulled it out at her team’s recent end-of-season banquet. The veteran coach recalled a practice for an eighth grade DAA travel team that gave Potash a glimpse of future standout Anna Barry. The East coach has never forgotten, but Barry, now an East senior, admits she doesn’t remember.

“It was an eighth grade practice that Anna’s dad was running for her older sister Emily, who also played for me,” Potash said. “That group – Emily Chmiel and that whole crew – was going to be freshmen.

“I do this a lot, try to get out to the younger programs, run a practice for them, whatever, so I’m running this practice, and we’re doing a two-ball passing drill. I needed an extra player, and Anna, who’s a fifth grader, is there. Mr. Barry said, ‘She’ll hop in.’ I was like, ‘Okay,’ and there’s Anna, and she’s doing this drill better than any of the eighth graders as a fifth grader. Mr. Barry kind of looked at me and said, ‘Just wait for this one, coach.’”

Potash waited, and if ever a player lived up to their advance billing, it was Anna Barry. The diminutive guard – who measures in at 5 -4 – had herself quite a four-year varsity career.

“I shared that story at our banquet because you’re talking the end of Anna’s senior year, and it’s like – he was right,” Potash said. “It’s unbelievable. What she was able to do on the court was so impressive. The way she grew her game over the four years – it’s incredible.”

Barry was the MVP of a young East squad that earned the program’s first berth in the state tournament in four years. Barry, the senior point guard, was the catalyst and became just the eighth player in program history to surpass the 1,000-point mark.

“I can’t even believe she was able to score a thousand points with the way she was defended,” Potash said. “Last year she was faceguard denied, she was box-and-oned, and that’s what I can’t get past.

“I always thought Emily Chmiel’s (1,000 points) was unbelievable because she did it in two-and-a-half years, but it was such a different position she was in (Chmiel was the team’s center). You look at Anna – she was the primary ballhandler, and we didn’t have a lot of scorers around her prior to this year, so what she was able to do being the sole focus of scout teams and how we’re being scouted, it’s pretty incredible.”

Barry, who will not be playing at the next level, acknowledges she couldn’t have written a much better final chapter to her high school career.`.

“Especially being able to get the state game - I feel like I did everything I wanted to do,” Barry said. “It’s a little bit sad, but I’m pretty content with how things ended.”

The journey

Barry grew up with a basketball in her hands, and she began playing both basketball and soccer at a young age. She played soccer through eighth grade but then opted to walk away to focus on basketball.

“I like soccer, but I felt like when I was playing soccer we would play for however long, and at the end, the score could be 0-0, and I was like – ‘So why did I just play that game?’” Barry said. “I played basketball at the same time, and I ended up choosing to stick with basketball for high school because I just wanted to focus on one sport.”

Basketball – it turns out – runs in Barry’s family.

“My dad (Rick Barry) played in college, and I grew up with a ball in my hands,” she said. “Basketball was just always around me, and my sister played, so I would always go to her games. It just ended up being a part of my life when I was real young.

“I loved the pace of it. I loved everything about it pretty much, so I stuck with it throughout my whole life.”

Barry played for her father on the DAA (Doylestown Athletic Association) travel circuit, and as a freshman at East, she was the first player off the bench during the COVID-shortened season.

“We literally played six kids that year,” said Potash, whose team rolled to a league title and an undefeated SOL Colonial Division season. “She had a very specific role.”

With the graduation of four seniors from that successful district semifinalist squad, Barry was asked to step into the role of point guard as a sophomore.

“Anna was more of a shooting guard, but we needed her to be the point guard,” Potash said. “What she was able to do – each year adding more pieces, so now she has to handle the ball, she’s got to be able to defend at that level. Now everyone knows that she’s a shooter, so by her junior year, she’s starting to attack the basket more. It’s unbelievable what she’s been able to do.”

A two-time first team All-SOL Colonial selection, Barry reached the 1,000-point milestone in her team’s district playoff game at Perkiomen Valley, joining her father and grandfather to earn that distinction.

Becoming the third generation player to reach that milestone was never a high priority for Barry.

“At the beginning of the year, coach asked me if I wanted to know what I was at,” Barry said. “I said I didn’t really want to know the number because I don’t really want to be thinking about it during the season. I just asked her to let me know when I was a game away.”

Barry was 21 points away entering her team’s game against Neshaminy and finished with 17, leaving her with just four points to get in the Patriots’ district playoff game at Perkiomen Valley.

It wasn’t nearly as easy as it seemed for a player who averaged over 13 points a game. Barry buried 3 of 4 foul shots in the first half, missing the fourth that would have vaulted her to the elusive milestone. Late in the game, she was awarded two foul shots – missed the first but buried the second.

Barry laughs when she recalls her rare struggles at the foul line, and it’s clear – the milestone was not at the top of her wish list.

“Getting to states was really a big goal especially my freshman year because we got duped a little bit because that was a team that definitely could have gone,” Barry said of the COVID-shortened season that saw only the district champion advance to states. “So it was really special being able to do it my senior year. It was such a cool experience.

“We got to go on a charter bus, which is something I never did with our team. It was just a really cool and exciting experience. Everyone was rooting for us. When I was driving back to school to leave for the state game, our school’s police officer knocked on my window and he was like, ‘You play basketball, right? Good luck in your state game.’ So, it was just a really cool experience because the whole school kind of knew that we made it that far.”

The fact that Barry was focused on team rather than individual goals comes as no surprise to her coach.

“At the end of the season last year, I told her – you have a pretty good opportunity to get a thousand points, I think you might be able to get it,” Potash said. “For her, it was like, ‘Okay, if it happens, it happens, no big deal.’

“As it’s getting closer, you’re talking to her, and she could not have told me more times – ‘Coach, I just want us to get to states, whatever it takes to get us to states. We haven’t been there since I’ve been here. I want to get our team to states.’

“You don’t always have a kid with that mentality. (Scoring a thousand points) wasn’t her goal, her goal is team focused, and that’s really who Anna is, it’s who she’s always been. She’s been the best player on the floor, but it’s always about the team, which is a mature point guard mentality. If you needed her to score, she’ll score, if you needed her to pass the ball, she’ll pass the ball. Whatever she needs to do to help the team be successful, she’ll do.”

Checking all the boxes

Numbers are just numbers, but it’s impossible to ignore Barry’s. A dangerous long-range shooter, she had herself quite a senior year.

“When you look at her stats for the season – it’s pretty crazy,” Potash said. “She scored 392 points this year, and she scored 222 of those on 74 made 3-pointers. She had 55 3s last year, which is a high number and this year she had 74.”

Attaining those numbers doesn’t just happen. Barry put in the work, but while many of her peers spent a lifetime on the AAU circuit, she was committed to travel ball and spent just two years later in her high school career playing for Fencor.

Don’t however, take that as a lack of commitment.

“Over the summer, a couple times a week, I would go to the Y with my dad, and I would just go and make 200 3s and then we would leave,” Barry said. “Once you start doing it over and over again, it becomes so quick. I was making a hundred 3s in 15-20 minutes, so it wasn’t a long time.

“I’d do that every few days, and every time I’d go it would just be a quick in and out, and it would keep me consistent.”

Consistently excellent would be the best way to describe Barry’s senior season.

“She led us in a lot of things – free throws made, free throw percentage, highest average, total points, most minutes played, highest in assists,” Potash said. “You look at it, and it’s just really incredible, and she’s definitely someone we’re going to miss who is so unselfish, so happy to praise her teammates, so happy to be a leader and all those things.”

Barry already displayed those traits as a youngster coming to Potash’s summer camps.

“We knew she was talented, and she’d pass the ball to kids that could barely catch, and you’re like, ‘Why is she throwing the ball to them?’” the East coach recalled. “But that’s who she is. She’s such a good teammate. She loves cheering on kids.”

That never changed, and a photo from East’s district loss to top-seeded Perkiomen Valley shows Barry and her teammates – wide smiles on their faces – standing in front of their bench applauding a teammate who rarely saw the floor scoring. This was not while their team was coming down the home stretch of a big win but rather while time was winding off the clock of a 54-25 loss.

“That is why our team was so successful this year,” Potash said. “What team does that when they’re down so much, and here she was leading the cheers.

“I was like – that sums up who these guys were. We had cleared the benches, they’re cheering.”

This fall, Barry will be attending Penn State, and she hasn’t ruled out playing club basketball at the next level, but that will not be her top priority. She will be majoring in biochemistry.

“I want to work in pharmaceutical development, making medicines and researching medicine,” she said. “I always have been interested in that type of thing – sciences and things like that.

“This year in AP psychology, our teacher showed us a lot of things biochemists did and created, and I thought it was one of the coolest things ever, so that’s really what made me want to do it.”

An excellent student, Barry is a member of the National Honor Society, which provides opportunities to volunteer in the community.

She leaves East with the fondest memories of a high school basketball career that was not about individual accomplishments – although she had many – but rather about the team.

That undoubtedly explains why she insists she didn’t feel pressure as the leader of a young and inexperienced squad this year.

“I think we all just wanted to play for each other, and we knew if we played for each other – we would leave everything out on the court, and there’s really nothing more you can do, so we didn’t really put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” Barry said. “Our team was special this year – I feel like we all were so close, and we just wanted the best for each other, and I think that’s what made us so good. We all kind of knew if we gave it our all, gave 100 percent every single game and left it all out on the court, there’s nothing more we could do.”