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East's Harris consistent in losses at Victoria Classic

By bY CLAY WHITTINGTON - CWHITTINGTON@VICAD.COM
Dec. 28, 2011 at 6:28 a.m.
Updated Dec. 29, 2011 at 6:29 a.m.

Victoria East senior guard Devin Harris shoots a free throw during the first half of Wednesday's 2011 Victoria Classic game against Capitol Hill at Victoria East High School. The Titans were defeated by the Redskins 64-40. ANGELI WRIGHT/AWRIGHT@VICAD.COM

FREE THROW CONTEST

Victoria East junior Christian Herring won the free throw shooting contest, defeating Oklahoma City Capitol Hill's Nico Meadows 8-7 in the finals. The Titans' LeVaughnte Carroll finished third, followed by teammates Cole Wozniak and Devin Harris, respectively.

Victoria East head coach John Grammer wants consistency from his team.

Devin Harris did not disappoint on the first day of the 2011 Victoria Classic.

The senior starting guard scored a team-high 10 points in the team's opening game against Trent International and added 11 more in Wednesday's nightcap versus Oklahoma City Capitol Hill.

"He's been pretty steady for us, he's been reliable," Grammer said. "I didn't know how many points he had because we had so much trouble scoring, but you've got to look at the bright spots."

Grammer had very few highlights to look back upon following the games.

While Harris' contributions were along the lines of what the coach desires from the first-year varsity player, it was not enough to prevent the Titans from losing both contests on their home court by a combined 63 points.

East fell to Trent International by 39 points, 79-40, before losing by 24 points, 64-40, to Capitol Hill.

Both games saw the Titans suffer through horrible shooting slumps, especially in the second halves.

East scored just 14 points in the second half against the Phoenix before missing 27 of 33 shots after halftime versus Capitol Hill.

Harris admits the Titans did not live up to self-imposed expectations in either contest.

"We've got to play through our missed shots and just keep playing" Harris said. "We've also got to come out of the half with more intensity.

"I've got to be one of the players to step up."

Harris, however, is still learning to be a leader, and he knows it will take some time to adjust to varsity-level competition.

"The first half of the season, I've played all right, but I've got to keep getting better and better," Harris said. "By the playoffs, I should be good."

It is difficult to top his first-half performance against Capitol Hill.

Harris scored over half of the Titans' points before halftime, producing 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. The remainder of the team combined for nine points and connected on just four of 21 field goal attempts.

The second half was a different story though as Harris missed both of his shots, contributing just one successful free throw following halftime.

In Harris' absence, Cole Wozniak scored eight points en route to finishing with a team-high 13 points.

"He can score a lot because he is quick, and he made a lot of shots in the first half," Wozniak said of Harris' output. "In the second half, we were down and just really needed some points (so I started shooting more)."

The Titans trailed 21-9 by the end of the first quarter and saw the deficit balloon to 16 points, 29-13, before using an 11-6 run spanning halftime to pull within 35-24.

But it would not last.

The Redskins went on an 8-0 run to catapult into complete control, a position they never even hinted at relinquishing.

Harris contributed more than just points in the loss though, adding four rebounds to tie for the team lead, a game-high two steals and two assists. He also made 1 of 4 3-pointers, but missed four of his six free throws.

After the game, Harris found his free-throw stoke, making 7 of 10 attempts in the opening round of the free throw shooting competition before making another 7 of 10 in the second round. But he was eliminated by teammate Christian Herring in a shootout.

"I was kind of nervous, but I thought I had it," Harris joked.

With district play rapidly approaching, Grammer is pleased with the progress he has seen from Harris in his first season on varsity and expects to see more of the same in the upcoming weeks.

"I noticed early on that he was one of our most consistent players and that's what coaches look for," Grammer said. "I know what I'm going to get from him game in and game out."

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