Taliah Scott shines, but St. Johns Country Day falls in girls basketball state semifinals

Taliah Scott and St. Johns Country Day dropped the 2A state semifinal to Faith Christian on Wednesday. (Justin Barney, News4JAX)

LAKELAND, Fla. – The odometer finally stopped on one of the best girls basketball careers in area history.

Taliah Scott had a sizzling game for St. Johns Country Day, but the Spartans couldn’t overcome the size of Faith Christian in a 77-65 loss in the Class 2A state semifinals on Wednesday afternoon. It was St. Johns Country Day’s first girls basketball state semifinal trip since 1986.

Scott had a spectacular final game, scorching the nets for 47 points to put the finishing touches on a career that will go down as one of the best in area history. Sure, it was disappointing to not finish with a championship, but Scott’s career was a whirlwind of points, records and highlights.

Scott finished her career with 2,735 points. The player immediately in front of her, Ribault icon Shante Williams, had 2,780. Williams was the first female McDonald’s All-American in area history. Scott is just the fourth. She’ll head to the McDonald’s game next and then a career at the University of Arkansas.

“I’m happy that I finished out my high school career with my team here. St. Johns has made it so memorable for me, and I appreciate all my teammates, all my coaches and stuff it’s just been amazing,” Scott said. “And even though it didn’t end how I wanted it to end, how everybody wanted it to end, I’m still happy and it’s been great.”

While Scott put up points in waves, Faith Christian’s size and effectiveness in the paint is what flipped the game in a hurry.

The Spartans led briefly in the opening minutes but saw the Lions seize control after that behind the play of the 6-1 Holland Harris, 6-2 Kylee Kitts and 6-1 Leah Barnes. That size is something St. Johns wasn’t equipped to handle.

They grabbed a 22-13 lead at the end of the opening quarter and St. Johns could only get back to within eight late in the fourth quarter, including Scott’s 11th 3-pointer of the game to trim the lead to 69-61 with 2:25 to go. They played from behind most of the game and had to rely on Scott raining 3s to stay close.

Scott added 10 rebounds. Harris had 35 points and 13 boards; Kitts went for 17 and 14.

“I’ve never coached a player of her level, her skill level. But not only is she a great player, she’s a great kid. She’s just a great kid to get to know,” said Spartans coach Yolanda Bronston. “... She helped elevate our program literally to the next level. And I’m grateful for her and blessed to have been able to coach a player of her caliber.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.