In a dimly lit hallway Sunday, some 20 minutes after Paul VI’s win over then-No. 1 St. John’s, Honesty Scott-Grayson explained the anatomy of one of the several critical plays she made during the victory.
It started, as they normally do, with Scott-Grayson scanning the floor, ball in hand. Next her teammate set a screen, and she watched her defender cheat toward it. So she crossed from left to right, going in the opposite direction to break free, and sprung into the paint. Now came a tough decision: She could do a Euro step, a move she has perfected through repetition, to beat the next defender. Or she could spin, a move she hadn’t used for years but had wanted to pull out one of these games.
She opted for the former, sacrificing flash for familiarity on a crucial fourth-quarter lay-in.
“The game slows down,” Scott-Grayson said. “I get tunnel vision, but I don’t get tunnel vision in a cocky way. It’s like, what am I going to do to make this basket? Everything gets a little blurry. I don’t really see individual players, and I don’t really hear anything. It’s just everything focused on making the play.”
The junior point guard can talk about an entire game in such detail. That acrobatic, one-handed pass she made in the first quarter against St. John’s? She palmed the ball by her hip before windmilling it into the corner. That game-sealing offensive rebound in the final moments? She leaned into the girl boxing her out before anticipating where the ball would bounce. Her game-high 20 points in the four-point win?
“You want to hear about them all?” Scott-Grayson asked, grinning. “It’s getting kind of late.”
Scott-Grayson is in her first year with the top-ranked Panthers (25-1, 14-1 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) after playing at Blair Academy in New Jersey as a sophomore. She is a five-star prospect, ranked 11th in her class by ESPN, and has attracted attention from the nation’s top college programs — Connecticut, Notre Dame and Maryland among them. She plans to trim down her list by the time AAU ball picks up in the spring.
Until then, she will keep quarterbacking a Paul VI offense that also features Notre Dame commit Mikalya Vaugh and Tennessee commit Amira Collins. Scott-Grayson has seven games with 10 or more points this season, but her all-around play has helped tie the Panthers together.
“It’s the rebounding, the scoring, the distributing, all of that,” Paul VI Coach Scott Allen said. “She’s the type of player that gets better as the moment gets bigger.”
After recounting bits and pieces of the St. John’s game, Scott-Grayson snaked through Paul VI’s empty halls and rattled off her basketball bucket list.
She wants to meet Candace Parker, the Los Angeles Sparks’ do-it-all star after whom she models her own game. She wants to go to college and win a national championship. She wants to go to the WNBA and win a championship there, too. She wants to play overseas. She wants…
“Everything,” Scott-Grayson said. “I’m dreaming it all up.”
Each step took her closer to the Panthers’ buzzing gym, where the leftovers of a sold-out crowd were still celebrating on the court. Her teammates and friends had been looking for her ever since Allen’s post-game talk ended. When she walked in, someone yelled, “Where have you been? Get over here!”
Then the lights turned off, row by row.
“Whoa,” Scott-Grayson said to herself. “It’s like I shut the place down.”