Midway through the 2014-15 basketball season Gabby Harris scored her 1,000 point for South River. Two years earlier her brother Tyler Harris reached the mark for the Rams. The two became the first-ever sibling duo to reach the elusive mark.
When watching Gabrielle Harris, a South River High School junior guard, you would think she had been playing basketball her entire life. There is a fluidity and gracefulness that had to have been refined from a young age. Then you hear about the first time she walked onto the court for the Rams as a freshman.
“I didn’t know how to shoot at all. I had no experience with basketball whatsoever,” said Harris, who recently became the school’s third player this year to surpass 1,000 points along with her cousin Sean Darrar and teammate Alyssa Barry. “I used to try going on fast breaks and I would trip over my feet.”
“Her freshman year, we saw potential, but she would get so nervous with the ball and she would just fall at half-court,” added Barry, a senior point guard for the Rams. “It was almost a joke. Then the following year, she came back and averaged 15.8 points a game. She worked so hard throughout the offseason and we knew that in the next years to come she would be something amazing.”
Harris started out as a gymnast from a young age and continued with the sport until high school. South River does not have a gymnastics team, so she turned to the family game of basketball, where her father and South River boys basketball coach Rodney Harris was happy to show her the ropes, but had some things to work on.
“She used to shoot the ball with two hand,” said Harris, laughing. “We started going to the gym and started working out. I taught her the fundamentals and then she graduated from me to Audrey Taylor. She took over and made Gabrielle the player she is today.”
Taylor, the head coach of the Franklin High School girls basketball team and South River alum remembers how Harris took to her training very seriously. Harris was used to long hours in the gym with gymnastics and she converted all the time into basketball.
“I knew she had the work ethic and when she walked in the gym, she just caught on to things very quickly and was just so athletic,” said Taylor. “We worked a lot on ball handling and being versatile with both hands. We did a lot footwork and teaching her how to quickly pull up on a shot.”
Taylor also encouraged Gabrielle to watch more basketball and the junior wants to liken her game to that of Skylar Diggins in the WNBA. Taylor asked Harris to write a paper explaining why they looked up to Diggins.
“She explained that it was about how hard she worked and hustled for the things she achieved in college. That kind of set the ground work for her. It was a god person for her to follow. You can learn so much from watching this game,” said Taylor.
Harris has applied all of the teachings into her repertoire. During a GMC Tournament match against Middlesex, Harris combined her athleticism with her refined touch to score in a variety of ways. It’s easy to see how she became the first junior girl to reach 1,000 points.
The junior worked her pull up shot early, stopping her drive instantly to shoot a smooth left-handed shot. Her crossover helps her beat a defender inside and switches to her right to make the layup as she’s fouled. She leads fast breaks with confidence at half court to make the tough pass.
Click here to read full story about all three South River players to pass the 1,000 point plateau this season.