SOLVAY, N.Y. (NCC News) – Senior Justin Scott returned to the Solvay High School boys basketball lineup just in time for the Class B sectional semifinals against General Brown on Feb. 29. He put up 19 points, a feat neither he nor head coach James Rolince expected, after he sat on the bench for 13 games.
“I was shocked,” Scott said. “I thought I was going to have around 5-10 points and then, just being like a generator. I wasn’t looking forward to scoring. But the shots were falling that night and it felt great.”
Rolince added, “He only had a couple days to practice. We were just doing some light work, and he got tired really fast. I was like ‘Oh man, I don’t know how much we can use him.’ He kind of came in and he did well, but I didn’t know he scored 19.”
Scott had suffered a foot injury during the team’s win over Marcellus at the end of January. He went down after hitting the back of someone’s heel when driving in for a layup.
“I felt the pain on my toe,” Scott said. “I didn’t really recognize it until I got to the free throw line to shoot. Then I looked down at my foot and I see that something was wrong there.”
Scott got his foot checked out, and Rolince was Scott’s first call when learned he would be sidelined for four weeks.
“It caught me off guard,” Rolince said. “I was like ‘Oh my god, how are you?’ He really never showed much emotion with it. He just said, ‘yea, it’s unfortunate, but I’m just gonna be there for the team and support the team.’”
When four weeks turned into six weeks, Rolince never saw Scott’s demeanor change.
“He was always on the bench,” Rolince said. “He was always cheering them on, so I think his support kind of kept the guys going. For the team to be able to draw off of his energy and his support and still find some success, just getting him back is all the greater.”
Scott continued to rehab his foot in order to be as close to 100% as possible for Solvay’s sectional finals contest against Lowville. Even though the Bearcats lost to the Red Raiders 71-50, Scott tallied 20 points.
Rolince said he has always been in awe of Scott’s talent on the court, but seeing Scott’s attitude throughout his injury showed his true “team-first” mentality. Rolince said he selfishly hoped Scott would play again before the end of the season.
“The biggest thing for me was just for him, more so than the success of the team, to get a chance to play basketball one more time at this school that’s come to mean so much to him, with these guys that mean so much to him,” Rolince said.
Scott’s career playing basketball for the Bearcats may be over, but his time on the hardwood isn’t done just yet. He hopes to play basketball in college after graduation from Solvay.