Lewiston's Victoria Harris leaves her mark on the program

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Lynn Girouard has watched the game several times since it was played Feb. 14.

Victoria Harris’ performance in that one-point Class AA North quarterfinal loss to rival Edward Little is still difficult for the Lewiston girls’ basketball coach to comprehend. Nor can athletic director Jason Fuller and assistant coach Josh LaPrell.

Thirty-six points. Nineteen rebounds.

“Josh has seen a lot of basketball, so has Jason, and I have, too,” Girouard, the second-leading scorer in school history, said. “We just couldn’t remember a female high school player having that sort of a game in a long time.

“I had some 30-point games when I was in high school, but she just took over. Everything that she was throwing up it seemed was going going in … and 19 rebounds, she was everywhere. She definitely did not want to lose that game.”

Harris made 14 of 20 shots from the field and 8 of 9 at the free-throw line. She led the Blue Devils to within one point of beating the eventual state-champion Red Eddies. (In fact, Lewiston held a two-point lead when Harris fouled out with 23 seconds remaining.)

It’s hard to imagine a senior ending her career with a more brilliantly played game.

“Playing, I didn’t even realize that it had gotten to 36,” she said. “I was just trying to score points and all that stuff. I wasn’t really thinking about it. But at the end, I was like, ‘Wow.’ In a way, I was happy, but then also sad because we still lost.

“I gave it all I got, and I know that I gave it all I got.”

The only problem for Harris is that her senior season wasn’t longer.

But that season finale in many ways epitomized Harris and her senior season.

She produced several double-doubles and averaged 13.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game (up from 11.3 ppg and 7.6 rpg as a junior). She also made 49 steals and blocked 35 shots.

She was voted to the KVAC first team, and she has been selected as the Sun Journal’s All-Region player of the year.

“Every year, she definitely improved. I think this year was definitely her sort of breakout year,” Girouard said. “She really had a determination this year to take the team as far as she could, and she definitely did that.”

The 2017-18 season began with a 44-32 win over Bangor that she singled out as the highlight of the season.

“Everyone was excited. It gave people hope for the season,” Harris said.

That hope was important for the young Blue Devils, and for Harris, who, along with fellow senior Gabby Wilson, took on leadership roles for a team made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores.

“All freshman, sophomore, junior years, I was really reserved and really didn’t say anything to a whole lot of people,” Harris said. “But senior year, I had to kind of be a leader and a role model.”

Harris said she tried to be encouraging to the young players, especially the freshmen. However, Girouard said, Harris never went easy on them.

“I thought for sure they weren’t going to take it right into her during practice times, and they would. And she would block the crap out of them,” Girouard said. “But they kept doing it. And that’s just a testament to them and to her, you know, that she wasn’t going to let them get away with stuff and she pushed them to the best of their abilities.”

In what may be her most enduring influence, Harris also helped the younger players believe in themselves and in Lewiston basketball.

Maybe the best example is the rivalry with Edward Little. In her entire four-year career, Harris and the Blue Devils never beat EL. Most times, Girouard said, the game was lost as soon as Lewiston walked in the gym.

However, both times when the Blue Devils entered the Red Eddies’ gym this year, that wasn’t the case. In the regular season meeting in Auburn, Lewiston’s bench was the loudest group in the gym as the Blue Devils refused to led the Eddies pull away until late.

And, of course, the postseason meeting when Lewiston was seconds away from an upset.

Harris leaves Lewiston basketball in a good place.

“I think she’s given us a little bit of light for the future, and something to look forward to,” Girouard said.

Harris will continue her basketball career at the University of Southern Maine, where she’ll again team up with former Lewiston teammates Morgan Eliasen and Kristina Blais.

“I think she’s probably peaking right at the right time,” Girouard said. “I think that they’re getting her at the right time. She, I think, is going to be very useful to them.”

Victoria Harris

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