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SULLIVAN – The game program for Monday's game between the Indiana Senior All-Stars and a group of the 11 best juniors from this state had the word “exhibition” printed on it.
Someone forgot to tell Bryson Scott and the rest of his classmates that this was not to be taken too seriously. The former Northrop High School standout laid a blitzkrieg of offense, which was fueled by repeated body blows defensively, right from the opening tip and the youngsters never had a chance.
Scott led the seniors to a 106-95 victory at Sullivan High School, and laid to rest any debate as to which class was superior.
“I'm a winner,” Scott said emphatically. “I'm always going to go out there and play with a passion and tenacity.”
The 6-foot-1 combo guard also brings an admitted healthy dose of anger, which his future coach (Purdue's Matt Painter) is going to love.
Why the anger on behalf of Scott? Let us count the reasons.
A year ago, Scott was left off of the Core Group of Junior All-Stars, and he'll probably never forget the deep-seeded disappointment. This is a player who has the utmost confidence and truly believes that he is the best player in the state. To be shunned like that has done nothing but fuel his effort ever since.
“I have a chip on my shoulder,” Scott admitted.
This spring, Scott had to deal with the sting of three other players (Hamilton Southeastern's Zak Irvin, Mishawaka Marian's Demetrius Jackson and Tipton's Mike Crawford) receiving more votes than he did for the prestigious honor of Indiana's Mr. Basketball.
“A lot of things haven't followed through,” Scott said. “I don't want to say (why the anger) right here.”
He didn't want to talk about it “right here” because he was being courteous. After all, it was The News-Sentinel which didn't even vote him as its (Fort Wayne) Area Player of the Year (New Haven senior V.J. Beachem took the honor), and that slight just added another dose of adrenaline to Scott that he reaches for during every workout.
So he took his anger out on the Junior All-Stars.
“I just wanted to come out here and play with a lot of passion and intensity,” Scott said. “I wanted to make a statement and show who I am.”
He succeeded in doing so.
It took Scott all of seven seconds to exhibit his strength and athleticism as he blew past his defender and drew a foul from a grasping defender.
It was 21 seconds into the game before he pressured a deer-in-the-headlights look out of a Junior ball handler, stole the ball and scored to put his team ahead 3-0 (it would never trail).
And just over two minutes into the game, Scott led the Juniors 7-3 (the score was 9-3) and Junior coach Brent Chitty of Columbus East High School called a desperation timeout, which wouldn't resolve anything.
“I wanted to show (the doubters) that they made a mistake,” Scott said.
OK, we get it.
Scott (two steals and two assists) hit five of his first six shots en route to 11 first-half points and finished with a team-best 19. When he wasn't scoring and stealing, Beachem was making a statement of his own.
The Notre Dame recruit connected on five of his eight shots, including a vicious baseline throwdown early in the game, and finished with 14 points in 15 minutes.
Scott came into Monday's game with a plan, and it revolved around playing harder than imaginable at the defensive end of the court, and letting that fuel his offensive game.
While he was scoring at will, it was his defense that was even more impressive. He helped force Indiana University commit James Blackmon Jr. into missing his first seven shots, and the former Bishop Luers High School star finished with just 3 made shots in 16 attempts.
“Defense is what got me going offensively,” Scott said.
Irvin scored a dozen points in the victory, while Devin Davis (an Indiana recruit) had 11 points and eight boards, Collin Hartman (Indiana) totaled 13 points, Clay Yeo (Valparaiso) had 11 and Darius Latham (Indiana for football) finished with 10.
Blackmon notched 13 points, while Park Tudor forward Trevon Bluiett led the Juniors with 22 points. Brebeuf Jesuit guard P.J. Thompson scored 14 points, while Evansville Harrison's Ernie Duncan totaled 11.
Elder girl's dominate
The girl's contest was similar to the boy's, as the Seniors cruised to an 84-65 victory.
South Side High School forward Ariana Simmons scored seven points to go with her two assists in the win.
Notre Dame recruit Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern) paced the seniors with 22 points.
Homestead shooter Sydney Buck (a Butler commit) finished with six points in the loss, while Canterbury's Kindell Fincher (Xavier commit) had five points and three rebounds.
(Boy's) SENIORS 106, JUNIORS 95
Zak Irvin 12, Bryson Scott 19, Devin Davis 11, Collin Hartman 13, Demetrius Jackson 2, Michael Volovic 0, Mike Crawford 2, V.J. Beachem 14, Clay Yeo 11, Basil Smotherman 4, Blake Simmons 8, Michael Schlotman 0, Darius Latham 10.
James Blackmon Jr. 13, Bryant McIntosh 2, Trevon Bluiett 22, JaQuan Lyle 8, Mack Mercer 8, Ernie Duncan 11, P.J. Thompson 14, Jacob Johnson 7, Zach McRoberts 4, Aaron Brennan 0, Sean Sellers 6.
(Girl's) SENIORS 84, JUNIORS 65
Stephanie Mavunga 13, Bridget Perry 9, Katie Curtis 4, Rhagen Smith 8, Taya Reimer 22, Celeste Edwards 3, Ally Lehman 5, Ariana Simmons 7, Andrijana Cvitkovic 2, Caitlyn Tolen 0, Jenn Anderson 0, Jill Morrison 0, Dakota Weatherford 9, Taylor Lutz 2.
Tayler Goodall 14, Erica Moore 8, Sydney Buck 6, Whitney Jennings 13, Maura Muensterman 5, Kindell Fincher 5, Mackenzie Campbell 0, Ana Owens 2, Lauren Whitlach 5, Danielle Cuttino 3, Jenna Knepp 2, Destiny Washington 2.