Jazmine Soto passes 2,000-point milestone in Spartans win
Another year, another record broken for Jazmine Soto.
Congratulations are once again in order for the Strathmore High School junior who broke the 2,000-point milestone with a 37-point performance in the Spartans’ 66-31 win over Farmersville (4-7, 0-2 ESL) Friday.
Entering the home game with 1,987 points, Soto surpassed 2,000 points, scoring on a layup to give her 2,001 points with 8.5 seconds left in the quarter. The game was stopped and then Soto took center court by herself before being honored by Strathmore coach Richard Miranda and then greeted by her parents, Tony and Allison.
Prior to the game, Soto talked about her season and her scoring records on Thursday. She admitted it was a nice feat to accomplish but had other things on her mind to accomplish with the Spartans (17-2, 3-0 ESL).
“Honestly it doesn’t really mean anything to me, I just play my game. I don’t think it’ll mean anything to me until I have a ring on my finger. And I get coach a ring,” she said. “These records, like yeah they’re great...and yeah for myself too to us to say that, ‘Oh I did this and I did that.’ Yeah it’s good but I don’t think I’ll rest until we go to Valley.”
Soto is now at 2,022 points and on track to break the Tulare County’s girls scoring record of 2,254 points, which was set in 1997 by Strathmore Valley champion, Devon Della.
Soto’s scoring in perspective
And while Soto focuses on getting Strathmore back to their first Valley championship game since 2017, let’s all take a moment to appreciate what Soto has done and continues to do.
According to MaxPreps.com, Soto’s numbers are up there with not only the best players in the state but the nation.
Prior to Friday’s game, Soto had scored 478 points making her the state’s second top scorer on MaxPreps.com after Ontario Christian freshman, Chloe Briggs, whose 591 points put her fourth in the nation. Soto sits at No. 11 in the nation.
As a freshman, Soto broke the Valley’s freshman scoring record by 18 points with 712 points and finished second in the nation only to Azzi Fudd (791) of St. John’s College in Washington, D.C. — the then-No. 3 team in the country and D.C. champions. Fudd is also the 2019 Gatorade National Player of the Year, a Team USA Gold Medalist and currently ESPN’s No. 1 high school girls basketball player for the class of 2021.
Her sophomore year, Soto’s numbers were even better. Through 31 games, one more than the season before, Soto finished with 797 points and tied for most points scored in the state with sophomore Jzaniya Harriel from Antelope — a team that made it to the Div. I state regional semifinals.
Both finished ninth amongst the nation’s sophomores in total points scored and 34th in the nation overall.
Getting it done
Averaging a Valley-leading 26.5 points per game, Soto continues to be the area’s most prolific scorer. Teams do their best to try to stop her but they rarely can.
“I’ve been coaching high school basketball for over 20 years and she has the highest IQ (of a) player that I’ve been around,” SHS head coach Richard Miranda said. “And I think it has to go with the upbringing of her parents, because they got her started at such a young age. And some people are saying, don’t do that. Let ‘em grow up. But because of that, look at the accomplishments that she’s receiving now.
“We played (Div. III) Madera and there were times where they triple-teamed her. And (the coach) was telling all three girls, 'Go trap her. Get in front of her.' And I believe she still managed to score (27) against them. She has a knack on when to go to the basket, cut to the basket. She knows. And she’s very fast on her feet. She’s a lot quicker than girls that can guard her.”
One of the few teams that had success against Soto was Div. III Porterville, who handed the Spartans their first loss of the season in a 52-41 defeat at the Dinuba/Orosi Holiday Classic over winter break. Soto still finished with 10 points against the Panthers and undoubtedly went back to the drawing board that night to work on her game.
“After a bad game, or I think I have a bad game, I’ll text Richard and I’ll tell him, ‘Oh I need to improve on this and this,’” Soto said. “Just telling him little things and he’ll agree. And we’ll do things at practice – like how I work on low post moves sometimes. And yeah if I see something that catches my eye that I’m not happy with, like with myself, then I want to improve.”
Next Tuesday, the Spartans get a chance to do something else they haven’t done since 2016-17, defeat the four-time ESL champion Golden Bears of Sierra Pacific and put themselves in a position to win at least a share of the ESL title. Game time is 6:30 p.m. at Sierra Pacific.
Editor’s Note:All rankings are from MaxPreps.com unless otherwise stated.