Tia Scott was forced to sit and watch.
The Cardinal Spellman point guard missed nearly her entire sophomore season with Achilles tendonitis and was relegated to wearing an orthopedic boot and riding the bench.
Scott, who played varsity as a freshman, had to sit and watch has her team struggled to bring up the ball at times, break presses and get into their offense.
Shooting guard Ayris Brown did the best she could, but even she was out of the lineup at one point during the year. The Falcons won the CHSAA Bronx division, lost to St. John Villa in the Class A archdiocesan semifinals and fell in the first round of the CHSAA Class A state playoffs.
“I missed my whole first season starting with the school at point guard,” Scott said. “I wanted to expand from last year and go more in the playoffs. We didn’t get to do that due to the fact that I wasn’t in the lineup. … [Lack of a point guard] was the main problem there. It was really hurting me to sit there and watch my team struggle without me.”
But as she sat she learned.
Scott, who is 5-foot-6, got to see the game from a different angle and more in depth. She would watch the tendencies of her team and teammates, picking up on little things that she normally wouldn’t notice while in the midst of the action.
“It gave me more of an outlook of how my teammates work without me,” she said. “I showed me what I could have done. … Sometimes there would be one girl hot and you would try to get her the ball more. Our center, Pearl [Mensah], is the type that catches the ball and just lays it up and we really weren’t doing that.”
Scott, who plays in the summer with the New Heights AAU program, is always looking for every opportunity to make her team and teammates better. She considers herself a pass-first point guard, even though she has the ability to get by defenders and get her own looks at the basket. She said that by getting her teammates involved it will only make her more effective later in the game when teams may not expect her to score.
“Her biggest strength is passing,” Spellman and New Heights teammate Troi Melton said.
“She is always thinking about other players and not herself. It’s very rare that you see her go in and take a layup for herself, unless she is wide open.”
Scott is fully healed from her injury and got back into playing shape after spending days in the Fieldston weight room with New Heights and Rosa, who is the school’s varsity coach. She did drills with the team before returning for the Gym Ratz tournament in June. Scott has been working on her jump shot to give herself an added weapon going into next season.
“I think she is seeing the floor much better than a year ago and she is definitely shooting the ball a lot better too,” Rosa said. … “They are starting to now have to respect her outside shot.”
That is exactly what Scott is hoping for.
“Everyone pretty much knows my game,” she said. “So if I shoot it, I bring them out and then attack the basket.”
It’s just one of the signs that Scott has become a much better student of the game and understands its intricacies and strategies at a higher level. All the days watching from the sidelines certainly helped.
“She is growing up now,” Rosa said “I think when she got hurt it kind of helped her to see things clearer.”