Michael Harris Joppatowne
Perhaps the biggest challenge Harris faced in November was blending three talented transfers into an already strong returning lineup.
While it took a little while to get everything rolling in the Mariners' complex sets, the trio meshed with the veterans quickly.
The No. 8 Mariners (26-2) hit their stride in January, taking off on an 18-0 run to complete the season with the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championship and their first state crown, a 63-46 Class 1A final victory over Smithsburg - a team they had lost to, 61-40, in December.
Harris credited his players, led by veteran guards Brittany Thornton and Zameria Jones.
"I've never had a group that was so focused to help each other. They helped each other out with schoolwork, making sure everyone's picked up, making sure everyone knows where to be, spending extra time to teach someone something," said Harris, whose career record in nine years at Joppatowne is 120-63.
Harris, who played on Joppatowne's state champion 1991 boys team, also gave credit to his assistant coaches, Valerie Bish, Katie Rodriguez and Erica Kelly.
Michael HarrisCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun