NORTH AUGUSTA — Michael Scott couldn’t stay asleep. He would have to be content with less than six hours.
The Aquinas guard, a rising junior, was nervous. Though he’s been to the Peach Jam before, this year was different. This time, he was playing in it.
He eventually beat his nerves, however, as Scott and high school teammate Ahmed Hill both played well in the second half in Southern Stampede’s 67-51 win against E1T1 Elite Wednesday night on the first day of the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam. Hill scored 13 points.
“I was nervous,” Scott said. “Since I was 8 or 9, I came to the Peach Jam every year just to watch players, the (future) NBA players. I couldn’t sleep.”
After a first half with some turnovers, Scott improved and even hit a shot in the second half off the bench.
Scott’s team, which was up seven at the break, used defense to create numerous fast-break chances – with Elijah Staley’s dunk a highlight – as the lead swelled.
The Fighting Irish teammates also played together during the rout – on one play Hill hit a pull-up shot to stretch it to 54-36. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.
The duo also helped beat E1T1 Elite’s press late.
“We work on it,” Hill said about beating the press. “He knows where I’m going to be and I know where he’s going to be.”
The Stampede take a 1-0 record into today’s 3 p.m. game against The Family. If the Stampede are going to make it to the Sweet 16 Tournament’s “Final Four” on Saturday, they will have to win the group. There are four groups of four teams, with only the group winners moving on to the semifinals.
But as long as Scott keeps talking on defense, he thinks the nerves won’t be a problem.
“It kind of relaxes me,” he said. “I started to play better once I started talking. That’s what (Hill) said, talk it out, and I’d be all right. I just started talking and it started working.”