Harris blossoming into top notch guard -- Gazette.Net


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When asked about the potential she sees in junior combination guard Janee Harris, second-year Crossland High School girls basketball coach Selina Smith said that “she can be one of the top point guards in the area. That’s up to her [and] with her ability and her skills, she can do that. She’s coachable and if she stays coachable and works hard, she can be the top guard in the county.”

Considering what she has accomplished on the court this season, including leading a youthful Cavaliers to 10 wins through Monday, it could easily be argued that Harris could be mentioned among the county’s elite guards now. She leads the county with a 20.3 point per game scoring average.

“She gives us a pretty good threat,” Smith said. “She hasn’t reached her peak in ability. If she works hard, she can be phenomenal. We’re working on her defense; she’s getting better on the defense and she’s a scorer. She is a good distributor for this team. She can be a good leader if she puts her mind to it.”

The left-handed Harris scored 28 points against County 3A/2A/1A League-leader Gwynn Park (13-2, 12-0) on Monday. In fact, Harris has eclipsed the 20-point mark on six different occasions, including 33 points against Surrattsville and 28 points against Potomac to open the season.

“I like to drive to the basket because girls like to foul and I like to get to the free throw line,” Harris said. “My quickness helps running for loose balls and getting rebounds and my teammates help, too. My coach makes me work hard in practice and hard work in practice helps me play hard in the games.”

Getting fouled is something Harris has become accustomed to this winter, having gone to the free throw line 119 times through Monday. That is 8.5 attempts per game.

“She’s having a great season,” Largo coach Ayana Ball-Ward said. “She’s a very strong player. She has a mid-range game and she’s a great penetrator. She can finish at the basket and knock down free throws. She’s any coach’s dream.”

Harris’ play has been instrumental in Crossland’s season, which includes a 10-4 overall record and an 8-4 mark in the County 3A/2A/1A League. The Cavaliers reside below Gwynn Park, Largo and Friendly (9-4, 8-2) and well above the rest of the league.

“I thought we were going to struggle a little bit,” Smith said. “I’ve got a young crew. I only have two seniors and I’ve got freshmen on varsity. We’re hoping to pick it up and to get even better. Our junior varsity has a lot of young talent. We’re hoping to grow and put Crossland on the map in the 3A.”

jpeters@gazette.net