Mariah Vargas, a senior guard for the Spanish Springs girls basketball team, was aware of scoring a career-high 22 points in last Friday’s 60-32 home win over North Valleys.
She said she had matched her previous career-high, 14 points, “nearly 10 times,” including summer ball and her feeling toward that point total had started to lean towards animosity.
“I was stuck at 14 for so long and after the game all the girls came in and were like ‘you finally beat 14.’ Thank God because I was stuck at that stupid 14 mark all season,” Vargas said.
But what the senior remained unaware of, was the school record she broke to get to her new career high.
In the 28-point drubbing of the Panthers that avenged an early-season loss, Vargas connected on 6-of-7 shots from behind the arc, setting a Spanish Springs record for most threes made in a game. Four girls previously shared the record of five.
“I didn’t know (I set the record) until I was home, after dinner and I was almost going to bed,” Vargas said. “Then (I got a text) that said congratulations, and everyone was on Twitter and stuff. My dad was sending messages to everyone.
“The only thing I knew, I didn’t know how many threes I hit, I had only known the points,” Vargas said.
However, the record-setting performance was not ignited by drilling the first shot of the game, or in pregame warm-ups. It started at Port of Subs.
At what has grown into a pregame tradition/superstition for Vargas and several other players on the Spanish Springs squad, the senior shooter was not chirping away with her teammates before the game. In fact, they got on her a little bit for being antisocial.
“We were messing around, again, at Port of Subs and I had my headphones on and I was getting in the zone and they (teammates) were giving me crap for not talking and conversing,” Vargas said. “I don’t know. I had my headphones on and just ate my sandwich. I kind of just wanted to be really focused in that game.”
What started at the sandwich shop carried over into pregame warm-ups in the small gym. She couldn’t miss.
“I joked around again saying ‘oh, I’m feeling it,’ just messing around and they just kept feeding me the ball, feeding me the ball and I kept streaming it and I was like ‘hopefully I don’t waste them for the game,’ so I stopped,” Vargas said.
Her decision to save some deep balls in the arsenal for the game proved to be wise.
While setting the school record for shots made from behind the arc remains Vargas’ proudest athletic achievement, it also opened her eyes to potentially taking her talents to the college level.
She did not play club basketball so she assumed when Spanish Springs calls it quits later this winter, she would too. But hitting six threes in a game can make you think.
“Everyone always asks me, ‘are you going to keep playing basketball?’ and I was always like ‘I don’t know,’” Vargas said. “But after that game, Hannah’s (Woytek) uncle and family came up to me and said ‘you should really try.’”
Woytek, Spanish Springs senior point guard, went through the recruitment process the past couple years and will play at Notre Dame de Namur in San Francisco next year, a NCAA Div. II affiliate.
“I’m not really in the basketball world so much as Hannah (Woytek) would be so they were kind of explaining it to me and I don’t know, it just kind of seemed like it was possible. We’ll just see I guess how the rest of the season goes.”
If she decides not to play collegiately at the junior college level, Vargas, who owns a 3.5 grade-point average and landed a 4.0 GPA as a junior, will decide between the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV. She has already visited the UNR campus and will make the trip to UNLV after her senior season comes to a close.
But before visiting Las Vegas, she hopes to accomplish her senior season’s goal.
“(I want to) hit some shots I guess,” Vargas said. “That’s it.”
Now owning the school record for most threes in a game, she might be able to cross that one off.