BOULDER – Josh Scott was nibbling on his fingernails. A year ago, he was carrying Lewis-Palmer to the 4A state title, but on this night he was reduced to a mere spectator.
On the court, Jordan Scott calmly weaved through Wasson’s ferocious press. He was, as usual, comfortable on a night that would have crushed most teens, or adults.
Josh has cast a massive shadow over the basketball life of little brother Jordan. Josh was among the most dominating high school players in Colorado history and one of the nation’s top 50 recruits. He started this season for CU’s Buffs.
“I think he’s already out of my shadow,” Josh said a few minutes after Jordan led L-P to a 61-54 comeback victory over Wasson in the 4A semis. “He does everything you need to win. He covers the best player. He scores. He does it all.”
The brother thing is complicated. I have no interest in climbing Everest, but if one of my brothers conquered the world’s tallest mountain today, I would begin plotting my ascent tomorrow.
Love, if you’re fortunate, is always there for brothers, but so are those shadows and those expectations and those burdens.
So try to imagine Jordan’s life. He’s one of the best players in our state, a 6-foot-5 forward with remarkable, dangerous versatility. He can soar above the rim. He can dribble through a flock of defenders. He can drop 3s. He passes with imagination and generosity.
And yet …
He spent this season listening to enemy fans shouting mean words at him. They yelled he’s not as good as his brother.
“And it got worse from there,” L-P coach Russ McKinstry said. “It’s a huge shadow.”
But here’s the thing:
Jordan embraces his heritage. He’s not intent on escaping Josh’s legacy.
“How I’ve always seen it is everybody has been in Josh’s shadow,” Jordan said of his L-P teammates. “I just happen to be his brother, and it’s been really awesome. I had him on my team, and who could ask for a better teammate? He’s a great teammate, great leader, great player.”
Jordan enjoyed his finest hour against Wasson in a superlative game that offered a rare combination of intensity and precision. Scott collected 15 points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists. This is a typical Scott performance. A little bit of everything. Scott and the Rangers play Valor Christian in Saturday's final.
Wasson’s press is a fearsome thing. The Thunderbirds push, elbow and bump dribblers. This isn’t defending. This is stalking.
Standing under the basket, always lurking, is Wasson’s Lorenz Stalcup, an agile 6-10 center. All season, Stalcup has intimidated those who invaded his space.
He failed to frighten Jordan. This makes sense. Jordan has spent hundreds of hours in the Scott driveway, trying to figure out ways to score over his 6-10 brother.
“I had so many shots blocked by Josh, it’s almost second nature for me now,” Jordan said, laughing.
Stalcup blocked five shots Friday night, but Scott never stopped attacking. His teammates picked up on their leader’s fearlessness and clawed to an impressive win.
L-P dribbled into this season with the burden of expectation and without a 6-10 center named Josh. The Rangers slowly but consistently grew as a team. On certain nights, they looked a little scared, a little lost.
No doubt, they’ve found their way.
On Friday, a little brother fully comfortable in his own skin lifted his teammates to the brink of repeat title.
And a proud big brother watched every minute.