Lynden Harry, 19, a former Madras girls basketball standout, finished her first year as a college athlete and didn't miss a beat. Harry played at the College of the Siskiyous, a community college in Weed, California.
In her years as a White Buffalo, she was voted Tri-Valley Player of the Year three years in a row. She led the Lady Buffs to a 21-3 record her senior year, averaging 14.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 3.5 steals per game.
Harry, who graduated in 2018 and signed her letter on intent May 1, 2018, had been voted first-team all state in Oregon 4A girls basketball.
"I really don't think the transition from high school basketball to college basketball was really that different," Harry said. "They still wanted me to play how I played, but it was different playing with new girls, especially since they were sophomores. It did take a while to learn what they could do and things like that."
As she started playing basketball her freshman year of college, she was faced with several obstacles. Her team played the season with only six players due to players quitting.
The team ran a very uptempo, high energy offense, similar to her time as a White Buffalo.
"My first year was good, personally for me," Harry said. "I really enjoyed playing with the girls there. We started with eight, but we lost two. One player quit right before league and another during league. After they quit, we actually did better, which is surprising, but the rest of the girls really knew how to play together."
"There were games where we were in foul trouble and struggled," she said. "We would usually end up coming out on top, like when we played Shasta, to win league. That was a very tough game."
Harry not only had to play on a shorthanded team, but had several deaths in her family during the season. She wanted to be with family at that time, but the severe snow in Oregon and around Weed, California, made it too dangerous to travel.
"I had a really difficult year this year because I had a lot of deaths happen and I couldn't be home," Harry said. "That was a lot for me mentally. My coaches and parents really helped me through that. They would come down and watch my games, which meant a lot to me because it was a really long trip, especially with the hard winter."
Despite the adversity Harry went through, she led her team to an 18-8 overall record, league title, and a playoff berth.
The Eagles finished the Golden Valley Conference with an 8-2 league record. They lost to Cabrillo College, a community college overlooking the Monterey Bay.
"I think the team success came after players quit," said Harry. "We really had to come together and really wanted to show them we were still going to win and not give up. Coach Tom Powers is a really good coach and has been a successful coach at many different schools. I feel like we didn't want to be a letdown."
"I learned a lot of plays and we ran a lot of plays that were simple," Harry said. "I didn't think those plays were going to work in a game, but we ran them, things were so open."
Statistically, Harry had an amazing year, averaging 13.1 points, shooting 44.8% from the field. She also averaged 4.9 rebounds and 8.7 assists, as well as having an 80% free throw percentage.
"My coach just told me, if you can get them the ball, they can score," she said. "That is kind of what I did and I ended up leading community colleges in the state of California in assists. My coach told me I was leading the state right before league play and I didn't even know that was a thing at all. I was very surprised that I kept that because it was a very close contest with other players."
Harry led California community colleges with 217 total assists in 25 games played and a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio. These stats earned Harry the most valuable player award in her conference and all-state third-team honors as a freshman.
"My favorite part of playing college basketball was just winning," Harry said. "The team would start out really good, struggle a bit, but usually maintain or push a lead. I liked being out there playing, being out there in a different environment. I had some support down there, but it was nothing like Madras, where everyone knows you and you know everybody."
"This year, I feel like I proved a lot and I want to take it a step further," Harry said. "I want to prove to myself that I can play at this level and we can succeed as a team."
Harry, who is majoring in physical therapy to eventually become a physical therapist, will continue her basketball career at the College of the Siskiyous and look to keep her journey going after her years at the community college.
"I really want to get my major and I need to get my doctorate, as well," said Harry. "I want to have a good career and start my life. I would really like to play at a university; that was always the goal."
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