Alexandria, Va. (WUSA 9) -- Everything seems to be falling into place for Jessica Harris. The senior seems adept at everything from dribbling to shooting to scoring, in fact her coach calls her invaluable.
"My senior year it's pretty great actually… [transferring from] Freedom [High School] in Woodbrige to here," said Harris.
Certain things are apparent when you watch her play, like her fast feet and quick release. Other things, however, are less obvious. There's a void in this 17 year old's life and it's painful.
"It's definitely hard," said Harris. I don't even know how to explain it.
It is the sobering reality of every military family. Jessica's mother is a member of the United States Army and deployed to Afghanistan last summer. The family matriarch had been a bedrock of stability, especially as Jessica transferred schools.
"It was a hard time when she left," said Harris. It was hard because the one who is supposed to keep the family together is now gone."
Harris carried that heartache into the opening week of the season.
"I wasn't expecting anything big," said Harris.
Boy was she wrong. Harris and her Edison teammates were about to play in a tip-off classic at Paul VI High School in Fairfax and unbeknownst to her, she was about to receive an unexpected gift.
As the tournament began an amazing thing happened. Scott Allen, head coach at Paul VI received a Facebook message from Jessica's mother who had seen her daughter's opening game of the tournament via U-Stream, an internet broadcast Paul VI uses for its games. Jessica's mother asked Allen for a t-shirt to which Allen responded.
"I told her first of all you are not paying for a t-shirt," said Allen. "Then I said Edison plays at 3:00 today would you be able to watch because we're gonna stream the game live."
Despite the nine hour time difference, mom logged on.
"I knew in the back of my mind I know my mom's watching," said Harris
Daughter put on a show, scoring her 1,000th career point. Then afterwards, Coach Allen set up a postgame interview, allowing daughter to send a message to mom. It was a Kodak moment complete with a simple message.
"That I miss her a lot so I just wanted her to see that I was fine," said Harris.