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SPRINGDALE — Only five games into the 2018-19 season, Charles H. Flowers Girls Basketball Head Coach Roderick Hairston characterized standout Kaniyah Harris as “an all-American player,” perhaps foreshadowing how the remainder of her season would go.
The junior averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. She led fastbreaks, aggressively crashed the boards, dove for loose balls, got her teammates involved, penetrated defenses with relative ease, drained free throws when needed, and could even hit the three ball on occasion.
Harris played with a level of passion, energy and vigor that is rare to come across. For those reasons, the junior guard has been named the Prince George’s Sentinel Player of the Year.
Following a state playoff win over Western High School (Baltimore), Harris revealed the mindset and motivation she has used all year to catapult her team to an impressive season that concluded with a 17-game winning streak that gave the Jaguars an overall record of 24-2.
“Coming into this game, I had realized we had been putting in work since August. So I wasn’t ready to let that work go to waste, my girls weren’t ready to let that work go to waste,” Harris said after a 53-49 win over Western, in which she tallied 24 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.
“We came in with the mindset that we’re going to win. We’re going to give everything we have on the court.”
Over her three seasons at Flowers, Harris has blossomed into one of Prince George’s County’s most gifted leaders. The 5-foot-10 guard has distinguished herself as a fearless competitor, a prolific playmaker and a staggering defender to lead Flowers to a historic season culminating with a first state championship in program history, a 57-42 win over Old Mill on March 16 at Towson University.
“Kaniyah Harris, in my humble opinion, is probably one of the top five guards in the state of Maryland, bar none,” Hairston said.
“I think she has been a leader and a tremendous force on this team. I think she is going to be even better down the line. What can I say about her? She rebounds, she plays defense, she handles the ball, she starts our offense. She is, in my opinion, one of the best players that I’ve coached.”
“I’ve known Kaniyah since she’s been in the 5th grade when I was coaching at another school and was impressed with her as a 5th grader,” he said.
“She’s a tremendous person. She is a person of character who knows how to win. She leads with her effort on the court. She leads with her effort off the court in the classroom. Team building, workouts — she is what Charles Herbert Flowers puts out…So, I’m totally impressed with her. That’s my girl.”
“From last year to this year, she has definitely (grown) into one of the biggest players-slash-leaders that I have ever played with and been friends with,” said senior guard Jasmine Hilton of Harris’s development.
“She helps me to try to be the leader that I am today, and with her by my side, it’s easier to go through the things that I need to go through. And I’m just thankful for her as a teammate and a sister.”