Scott top scoring threat for young Falcons

Tamra Scott

WOODSTOCK — Central girls basketball coach Mallory Skarupa caught a good glimpse of just how high the potential ceiling was going to be in Tamra Scott’s future at the end of last season.

Playing in the Falcons’ biggest game of the season, Scott — then just a freshman — scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in Central’s loss to eventual Group 3A state champion Spotswood in the state semifinal game at James Madison University back in March.

“The seniors last year kind of took her under their wing, and I think she had her coming-out party in the semifinal game,” Skarupa said of Scott’s freshman season on Monday. “If you’re going to score 22 points and pick up 19 rebounds against Spotswood, you can do that against any other team that we play. We really saw her potential there.”

With the graduation of four senior starters from last season — including Central’s all-time scoring leader in Katelyn Poston — Scott knew she needed to deliver more consistently on that potential this season. So far, she’s done just that.

Scott, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for Dec. 14-20, showed just how dangerous a scoring threat she can be in the post last week, as she combined to score 33 points in two games.

Her week consisted of a career-high 23-point performance in a 47-42 win over Skyline on Dec. 15, followed by a 10-point effort in Central’s 62-34 loss to Bull Run District leader Clarke County last Friday.

“Our leader, KP, she was a big help last year. But since she’s gone, she told me that I should step up and be a leader,” Scott said. “So that’s what I did. I’m kind of working my way up to be a leader this year.”

Scott’s guidance on the court proved critical for the Falcons (6-2, 4-2 Bull Run) against Skyline, as the sophomore overcome a sluggish start and scored 11 straight points for Central during a stretch in the third and fourth periods to help the Falcons rally from a 16-12 halftime deficit.

The 5-foot-7 Scott also pulled in 10 rebounds and swiped six steals against the Hawks.

“We’d like to work on post defense and everything still, but she’s really coming along. She’s our number one scoring threat and can really be a handful for other teams in the post,” Skarupa said. “Against Skyline on Monday, she really took the team on her back in the second half.”

The year of experience Scott received last year as a freshman starter for the Falcons gave her a stronger sense of confidence on the court this season, a factor that was also strengthened by Scott’s participation with the Winchester Rising Stars AAU team for the first time this past summer.

“Definitely in the beginning of our AAU season I was a little shaky again, but during summer tournaments and stuff I started branching out more and scoring at least 15 a game. I think it was then that I was like, ‘I can really play. I can really help our team this year,'” Scott said.

“I think that helped me branch out more because I played really well during that,” Scott added of her summer basketball experience. “I was named all-star in a couple tournaments. So I think that helped me become a better player.”

Scott noted that her experience with the Rising Stars has strengthened her inside game as a post player for the Falcons. She is also admittedly much faster on the court this season, a product of all the conditioning she did with her AAU team over the summer, Scott said.

“No one can catch her when she turns it on,” Skarupa said. “Usually it takes that ball being in her hands for her to do that and she just goes. She has that real nice move at the top of the key where she just swings through and takes it all the way to the hoop.”

In some aspects, Scott also benefited from a broken left hand she suffered diving for a loose ball during Central’s first open gym of the fall. Scott, a natural lefty, spent most of her recovery time working on becoming more comfortable using her right hand, which has in turn made her a better ball-handler.

“She can go right or left now,” Skarupa said. “And I think it helped her watching a lot of the games because we did the fall league in Winchester. It helped her … see different things on the court as well as, ‘Hey, I really want to be out there. I want to play and I can’t wait to be out there.’ Starting with even our first game at Madison [County], she just kind of took off.”

Skarupa said the Falcons’ coaching staff has been fostering the idea that any one of Central’s players can be the go-to scorer on any given possession this season. But Skarupa added that Scott is the catalyst who sparks everyone else around her.

“Everyone can get the ball and has the potential to score, but it definitely starts with her and trickles down from there,” said Skarupa.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com