Soto sur­passes 1,000 points

Sopho­more rec­og­nized for ac­com­plish­ment

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By NAYIRAH DOSU [email protected]­villere­corder.com

When it comes to Jazmine Soto, her stats do more than speak for them­selves.

They scream at the top of their lungs, “You’ve gotta come watch this!”

Barely mid­way through her sopho­more sea­son on Strath­more High School’s girls bas­ket­ball team, Soto’s al­ready sur­passed the cov­eted 1,000 point mile­stone that most bas­ket­ball play­ers don’t reach un­til their se­nior year.

On Wednes­day, the guard was hon­ored with a plaque to com­mem­o­rate her ac­com­plish­ment af­ter scor­ing her first point in the Spar­tans’ 60-12 rout of East Se­quoia League op­po­nent, Wood­lake (1-12, 0-3 ESL). Af­ter sink­ing a free throw early in the first quar­ter, a whis­tle was blown and it was an­nounced to the crowd that Soto had passed 1,000 points.

Soto ac­tu­ally scored her 1,000th point in the Din­ubaorosi Hol­i­day Clas­sic when Strath­more (13-5, 2-0 ESL) beat Gran­ite Hills 59-48 dur­ing pool play on Dec. 22, 2018, so she was ini­tially con­fused when the ref­er­ees

called time­out.

“I had no idea what was go­ing on,” Soto said af­ter the game. “That’s why when they blew the time­out or what­ever, I was con­fused.”

Against Gran­ite Hills, Soto went off for 36 points and knocked down seven 3-point­ers. She also tal­lied six re­bounds and four steals.

“I was just re­lieved, you know, that I hit it my sopho­more year, when I could’ve hit it my fresh­man year but it hap­pens,” Soto said about the 1,000 point mile­stone.

Supris­ingly Soto did all that af­ter com­ing off the big­gest game of her ca­reer the night be­fore when she dropped a ca­reer-high 43 points against Reed­ley (7-7) in a 59-55 win. Those 43 points set the school record for most points in a game, break­ing former Spar­tan Mariah Her­nan­dez’s record by one point.

Last sea­son as a fresh­man, she set the CIF Cen­tral Sec­tion fresh­man sin­gle-sea­son record with 712 points and av­er­aged 23.7 points a game. The record was pre­vi­ously set by Bullard’s Aa­iron Mc­don­ald (26 ppg) in 2013 with 694 points. Mc­don­ald now plays for Ari­zona, an NCAA Div. I pro­gram.

In Soto’s 29 games as a fresh­man she scored 10 or more points in 28 games, scored 15 or more in 27 and scored 20 or more in 20.

This year, Soto’s al­ready off to a strong start with 429 points through 19 games and has yet to put up less than dou­ble-dig­its in ev­ery sin­gle one of them.

But even though she’s ac­com­plished so much, Soto said she’s not con­cerned about any of her ac­co­lades. She’s most con­cerned about be­ing the best player she can be for both her team and her fam­ily.

“It’s about the game,” Soto said. “I want to make it known. Like my last name. My dad al­ways says, ‘Your last name is the most im­por­tant thing.’ So yeah it comes to my head once in awhile, like I have to push and push. Not only for the game, but for my­self as well as the team.”

Fam­ily is im­por­tant for Soto and she said she looks up to her mom, Al­li­son Soto, who was a star for Wood­lake’s bas­ket­ball team. Al­li­son led the team to a Val­ley fi­nal and also eclipsed 1,000 points her se­nior year.

“They’re try­ing to get her to break my record, I had 49 points in a game,” Al­li­son said with a laugh. “But I tell her not to com­pare her­self, ev­ery­one’s dif­fer­ent. You’ve got to be the best you can be. And al­ways strive to be a bet­ter ver­sion of your­self ev­ery game. Don’t com­pare your­self. And that’s a prob­lem be­cause a lot of peo­ple know me and they com­pare her to me but I tell her, ‘You’re you and be you.’”

Al­li­son said she was proud of Jazmine, who works hard and puts in work ev­ery sin­gle day.

“She started play­ing when she was six and she’s just one of those kids that just nat­u­rally likes to — if she comes to prac­tice or she had a bad game, she’ll go home and want to work on some­thing or prac­tice a lit­tle bit more,” Al­li­son said. “On the week­ends she’ll go out there. Even if no one wants to play with her, she’s out there prac­tic­ing by her­self. Al­ways look­ing for a game to play.”

Af­ter scor­ing a game­high 16 points Wednes­day and lead­ing the team with nine steals, as well as four re­bounds, Jazmine is ready for the team’s next game. The Spar­tans travel to Farm­ersville Fri­day for an­other ESL game at 6:30 p.m.

But while Div. IV Strath­more makes their way around league play, Soto and the team re­main fo­cused on one thing — a Val­ley cham­pi­onship.

“I want to go far with this team,” Soto said. “I know they lost Val­ley be­fore I came and that was tough. My coach, my team, we want to go back there and try to win it. That’s our goal, to get a ring.”

RECORDER PHO­TOS BY CHIEKO HARA

Above: Strath­more High School’s Jazmine Soto gets pho­tos taken with her par­ents, Al­li­son and Tony af­ter a game against Wood­lake High School Wednes­day, Jan. 9, at Strath­more. Soto who scored 1000 points on De­cem­ber 22, 2018 re­ceived a plaque be­fore the game. Be­low: Strath­more High School’s Jazmine Soto shoots for two.

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

Strath­more High School’s Jazmine Soto, right, steals a ball Wednes­day, Jan. 9, dur­ing the sec­ond half of a game against Wood­lake High School at Strath­more.

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