Southern of Anne Arundel's Vincent and Talaya Barnett are not only the most prolific brother-sister basketball force in the county, but also role models for teammates, students and teachers.
"These are very self-motivated people. They've learned a lot from the mistakes other people in their family have made, and they're determined not to repeat them," said Linda Kilpatrick, who coaches Talaya and has taught Vincent in physical education.
The Barnetts' parents separated when Vincent was less than a year old and Talaya was two weeks old. They have been raised by their grandparents, John and Catherine Barnett.
"I don't know of too many people who would do this," said Vincent, a senior point guard. "We thank them for taking care of us by trying to work hard and be successful."
The younger Barnetts have earned their success both on and off the court since making their respective teams as freshmen, a rarity at what has been a Class 2A boys and girls powerhouse.
Talaya, a junior, saw spot duty until "really coming into her own this year," Kilpatrick said. Her scoring average has more than doubled, to 10 points, and she also averages seven rebounds and three assists.
Talaya scored a career-high 22 points against North County this season. She scored 18 in Friday's 57-33 defeat of Chesapeake-Anne Arundel that virtually clinched a playoff spot in Region III.
"She's a quick player on the break and is starting to go to the basket very well. She can also be one of my best defensive players," said Kilpatrick. "If she has one fault, it's that she's too hard on herself. I tell her not to be."
Talaya also plays soccer and is an outstanding lacrosse defense wing. She is a consistent honor roll student and a class officer. She plans to major in chemical engineering at North Carolina State or Lehigh.
Vincent, a starter for coach Tom Albright since his freshman year, has been one of the county's most consistent scoring threats. After averaging 11.3 points as a ninth-grader, he has put together seasons of 23.1, 23.0 and 22.9 points per game for a total of 1,757.
He scored a career-high 41 against Annapolis as a sophomore. )) "He likes to play against us because of the style. He does well in an open-court game," said Annapolis coach John Brady. "He's quick and can pull up so hard off the dribble and score."
Also a strong rebounder at 5 feet 9, Barnett emphasizes "defense and distributing the ball" over offense.
He credits Albright, "a father figure who has always motivated me by saying I have a good head on my shoulders and can be anything I want to be."
Vincent is also a good student and intends to play at a four-year university while majoring in business management and psychology. "And [despite his height], I think I can play Division I," he said. "Just give me an up-tempo game and the chance to play."
Although both Barnetts have a high profile, they are self-described "easygoing and down-to-earth types."
"Talaya is very well-liked by her teammates, other students and her teachers," Kilpatrick said. "She's always at the school. If I don't have practice, she still stays there and does something to contribute.
"Vince I would describe as the perfect gentleman -- not the big-shot, macho type of kid at all. He's not the type who walks down the hall and says, 'Here I am,' " Kilpatrick said. "He's very polite and quiet. Adults like that. Teachers like that.
"Sometimes you have a gut feeling that people are going to succeed. I could be wrong -- I have been wrong -- but I feel very strongly about these two."