CHANUTE – Shawnee Heights senior point guard Tez Scroggins has been playing at a high level all season.
The championship game of the Ralph Miller Classic was no different.
Scroggins scored 16 points on just 4-of-6 shooting from the field and had three assists in the Thunderbirds’ 62-54 win over Emporia to remain unbeaten at 11-0.
Scroggins has been the best player in Topeka in the first half of the season using his quickness and ballhandling ability to get to the basket virtually at ease.
He’s averaging a team-high 15.8 points on the state’s No. 1-ranked 5A team shooting 52.7 percent from the field—a mark that a post player would be happy with, but unheard of for a point guard. He’s also averaging 3.5 assists and averaging an astounding 8.5 free throw attempts a game.
“Guarding Tez going to the basket is probably one of the hardest things to do defensively,” head coach Sam Stroh said.
Opponents have been adjusting their defensive gameplan to guard against Scroggins with many going to a zone to prevent Scroggins from knifing his way through the defense. It does help from him running by one defender, but he’s been picking his spots and finding his teammates for open shots with six capable of knocking down 3-pointers.
As a premier slasher, Scroggins still has to work on his perimeter shot which he has been putting in the time to improve. Every day Scroggins makes 100-150 shots either before or after practice.
He showed his ability to knock down perimeter shots against Emporia with a long step-back 18-footer and drilled a 3-pointer.
“It feels good, I could actually shoot it a lot more, but I just go with a flow,” Scroggins said. “If we need a 3 like we did, then I’ll let it fly. I’ve been working on it so I’ve been confident with it.”
Shawnee Heights trailed Emporia 25-23 at halftime, but then outscored the Spartans 14-5 in the third quarter to take the lead.
“In the third quarter we started playing like ourselves and running,” Scroggins said. “In the first half we were playing more of their game and we were settling and they were scoring whenever they wanted. So at halftime we talked about playing regular Shawnee Heights basketball like we’ve been doing all season and we got the job done.”
There are six seniors in Shawnee Heights’ primary eight-man rotation and it’s a group that has played with each other for years.
“It’s been probably my best season so far as far as how much I like every one of my teammates,” Scroggins said. “There’s not somebody that I kind of despise playing with him or I know he’s about to take a bad shot and not play any defense. I’ve been knowing all of these dudes since we were playing on Top City when we were young so it’s good playing with them again and winning.”
While he’s looking forward to finish out his senior season on a positive note, he has been thinking about his future after this season. Lately he’s been hearing frequently from Sunrise Christian Academy about the possibility of reclassifying to the 2016 class. Other prep schools have also shown interest.
“I’m just trying to decide what is best for me,” Scroggins said. “I’m looking at Jahmal (McMurray) right now. Instead of settling for a JUCO, he went to prep and now he’s signed D-I and that’s all of our dreams so I like that.”
Scroggins has spoken to McMurray, his former high school teammate at Highland Park for one season.
“He says at first it was hard like with the conditioning, but everything else will pay off and colleges will start coming,” Scroggins said. “He said I should do it.”