The Hudson Catholic girls’ basketball team was practically torn apart by graduation, leaving very few returning players for this year’s team.
“I knew a lot of it was going to be on me,” said junior point guard Tania Scott. “I had to be strong and level headed. I just had to keep my head until everything got together.”
Hudson Catholic head coach Pete Vincent knew that he could count on Scott. After all, Vincent made the 5-foot-4 Scott a captain last year when she was just a sophomore.
“I wanted to test her to see if she had grown up,” Vincent said. “I did expect a lot from her. We were playing three freshmen and I needed Tania to be the leader.”
“I loved that,” Scott said. “I loved having the responsibility. It was a great thing.”
Scott tries to be a leader in everything she does. She’s a member of the National Honor Society and has been on the honor roll since she walked into the doors of Hudson Catholic.
“She’s probably Ms. Hudson Catholic,” Vincent said. “She’s a straight A student who is involved in every club possible. She’s on the Peer Ministry group. The teachers all love her.”
Scott said that she got the dedication in the classroom from her mother Tamika Fogg.
“School comes first,” Scott said. “It’s my No. 1 priority. Without good grades, I can’t play basketball and I love playing basketball. My mom instilled that in me a long time ago.”
When Scott was in seventh grade, she brought home a B-minus in a language arts class.
“That was the last time that happened,” Scott laughed. “Never again.”
But being a dominant force in the classroom has enabled Scott to be a leader on the floor for the Hawks, as well as being a steady contributor.
“She’s really matured,” Vincent said. “She’s become more of a leader than she’s ever been. Her growth as a leader has been the most impressive thing. She went through some growing pains. I think over the summer, she started to develop. She was very dedicated and worked hard every day. She really pushed herself over the summer.”
As a player, Vincent had no doubts.
“She’s just so strong and tough,” Vincent said. “Nothing scares her. You can’t take the ball away from her. She always wants the ball.”
“I really think she’s among the three best point guards in our league [the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League],” Vincent said. “She’s leading our team in points, rebounds and assists. How many point guards do all that? I expect her to get her teammates involved. I expect her to score more. I expect her to lead by example.”
Last week, Scott had one of those weeks that most kids dream of and one that certainly filled out the statistic sheets.
In an 80-39 win over Snyder, Scott had 17 points, 10 steals, 12 assists and three rebounds. A few days later in a 38-33 win over Union City, Scott scored 18 points, had seven steals, four assists and six rebounds.
She also had games earlier this season where she scored 23 points against Marist and St. Dominic Academy.
For her efforts, Scott has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Scott is a native of Newark, but chose to come to Hudson Catholic a little more than two years ago.
“I wanted to go to a school with a diverse setting,” Scott said. “Being from Newark all my life, I didn’t have that chance. I wanted a different look. I knew Coach V [Vincent] before I came here and I knew he only had good intentions for me. I knew what he wanted to do here and that excited me. He has big goals like me.”
The Hawks’ chances will be boosted further now that Jasmine Reese, a Hudson Reporter Third Team All-Area honoree last year along with Scott, is now eligible to play for the Hawks after transferring from Marist. The same can be said for Jaylee Sanchez, who transferred from Union City. Both Reese and Sanchez had to sit out the mandatory 30 days under the NJSIAA’s transfer rules.
“It makes us much more dangerous,” Scott said. “They can do more damage. The other teams can’t key on one player. Any one of us can have a standout game. They’re two great scorers, so they’re going to help me with assists. They’re able to put the ball in the basket. My favorite thing in basketball is passing the ball. I love to pass the ball. I don’t really need to score 20 a game anymore.”
But Scott will still be asked to lead the way. After all, she is the point guard.
“She’s learning how to be a better teammate and a better player,” Vincent said. “She still has some ways to go. Now she has some players to help her.”
Vincent believes that Scott can be a college basketball player after next year.
“I think her grades will get her into the next level,” Vincent said. “She’s going to end up in a good school. She’s proven herself as a player. I can definitely see her as a scholarship athlete, playing on the next level.”
“That’s basically my dream,” Scott said, “I want to go to college and I’d love to play basketball. I want to get my degree. Right now, I’m having a lot of fun. I’m helping my teammates play and have fun, both on and off the court.”
Scott said that she doesn’t mind being the face of Hudson Catholic girls’ basketball.
“I love the recognition,” Scott said. “I love that I now can go out and people know who I am.” – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.