Strathmore sophomore Jazmine Soto honored Jan. 9 during 60-12 win over the Woodlake Tigers
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
STRATHMORE – Strathmore’s Jazmine Soto possesses such a high skill set out on the court that some have trouble believing that she is in fact a sophomore. The point guard’s stats so far in her high school career make that fact even harder to believe.
Midway through her second season with the Spartans, Soto has done what most senior only dream of accomplishing by surpassing the 1,000-point milestone. She was honored with a plaque for the accomplishment on Wednesday, Jan. 9, after she hit a free throw in the first quarter of the Spartans’ (14-5, 3-0) 60-12 thumping of the Woodlake Tigers (1-12, 0-3). Still, when the whistle blew for the game’s first timeout she was initially confused, but became one of the most surreal moments of her career.
‘’I didn’t really know what was going on,” Soto said. “I was really confused by why would they call a timeout this early. I didn’t know they were going to do this.”
Soto surpassed 1,000 points last month during the Dinuba-Orosi Holiday Classic. She hit the mark during a 59-55 win over the Reedley Pirates and broke Mariah Hernandez’s single game scoring record of 42 points by one. The next, when Strathmore defeated the Granite Hills Grizzlies 59-48 during pool play on Dec. 22, her 36-point performance sent her into the record books.
Soto bucketed another 27 points during a 65-25 win over the Farmersville Aztecs on Friday night which now gives her a career total of 1,168 points.
Since passing the milestone, and pretty much all season, Soto has been on a scoring tear. This season she has not scored less than double-digit points in a single game while amassing 429 points. She is averaging 22 points a game this season.
All of this after a freshman season which put her firmly in the cross hairs of recruiters. Last season she broke the CIF Central Section freshman single-season record with 712 points, and averaged 23.7 points a game. The previous recorder holder what Bullard’s Aairon McDonald, who scored 694 points in 2013.
Soto played in all of Strathmore’s 30 games last season and scored more than 10 points in 28 of them. She scored a then career high 37 points during 68-42 win over the Mt. Whitney Pioneers on Dec. 22, 2017.
On the night Soto was honored for breaking the 1,000-point barrier the torch was passed from mother to daughter. Her mother, Allison, was an outstanding player for the Woodlake Tigers who also surpassed the 1,000-point milestone. Growing up people have tried to compare Soto to her mother and inquired if the Spartan will score 49 points in a game like her mother did for the Tigers. Yet, instead of chasing those challenges, Soto has held onto what her mother has said.
“She always told me it isn’t a competition, and to go out and be the best you can be,” Soto said. “She is really one to look up to.”
It is safe to say if Soto’s scoring continues there is still one record within reach before she hangs up the blue and red of Strathmore, and that is the CIF Central Section career scoring record. The record is currently 2,938 points set by Nikki Blue from West Bakersfield 1999-2002.
“Hopefully there is more to come,” Soto said. “I am always going to try my best, especially when my team needs me the most.”
Although, Soto has already accomplished so much she doesn’t really concern herself with the accolades, or even accolades to come. Her mind is firmly set on one goal and that is getting her team back to Selland Arena and the Valley Championships.
“We want a ring,” Soto said. “Records are important as an individual, but I want to help my team back to the championship.”