Girls Basketball: Jazmine Soto rewrites record books

Strathmore’s Jazmine Soto breaks the Central Section’s career scoring record

STRATHMORE – A few months ago, Jazmine Soto’s senior season was in doubt. She was within reach of several records but was nearly unable to play due to the ongoing pandemic. Now that Strathmore is towards the end of their condensed 21 game regular season, Soto has solidified herself as one of the best high school basketball players to ever come out of the Central Valley.

In the Spartans sixth game of the season, Soto scored 38 points in a home win against Selma which put her atop Tulare County’s all-time scoring list. The previous record was held by Grant Verhoeven (Central Valley Christian class of 2012) who scored 2,598 points in his career.

Soto is stacking the record-breaking performances on top of each other this year. In last Tuesday’s 20-point performance at Sanger, Soto broke the Central Section’s career scoring record of 2,938. It was previously held by Nikki Blue (West Bakersfield class of 2002) who went on to play a few seasons in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The game at Sanger was preceded by Soto’s 52-point performance at home against McFarland, which is a single game record for Strathmore High School.

Her illustrious resume of records does not end there. According to Central Section historian Bob Barnett, Soto has also made the most free throws in section history at 737. Additionally, she’s second in section history in most steals at 635. Both numbers are prior to her last two games of the season.

As the Spartans wrap up their regular season tonight at Lindsay, Soto’s outstanding ability to put the ball in the net has her ranked among the best in the nation. According to MaxPreps, her 29.5 points per game is the second-best scoring average in California, and 16th best in the country. She crossed 3,000 career points last Friday against Farmersville which sets the bar high for any future Central Section basketball star looking to surpass her feats.

Soto began breaking records as soon as she entered high school. She broke the Central Section’s freshman scoring record with 712 points. As a junior, she then broke the section’s single-season scoring record with 989 points.

Heading into this season, Soto and her teammates were coming off a heartbreaking four-point loss in last year’s Valley Championship game to East Bakersfield. She’s kept that feeling of disappointment with her through the last 15 months as she’s determined to close out her high school career with a ring.

Head coach Richard Miranda considers Soto to be the best basketball players to don a Spartan jersey, but her legacy has gone beyond the halls of Strathmore High School. Miranda works at Sunnyside Elementary School in Strathmore, where he hears kids rave about Soto with hopes of playing like her someday.

“I can definitely say her picture will be hanging in the gym here somewhere, she’s already done some things that we won’t see for another 20-30 years,” Miranda said. “Hopefully, I live to be 90 years old so I can still talk about her. She’s made that much of an impression on me as a coach.”

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