It should be no surprise that Jadyn Montoya is plowing through the record book at Valencia High School.
After all, the 5-foot, 5-inch junior guard has been averaging double figures in scoring since her freshman season. Still, it might be eye-opening to learn Montoya is sixth in all New Mexico classes in scoring an average 19.2 points per game.
“I think I’ve progressed every single year,” said Montoya, who averaged 10.3 points as a freshman and bumped that to 12.5 during her sophomore campaign. “I feel like I’ve taken my game to a different level offensively, for sure.”
There isn’t a magic elixir to Montoya’s success.
“Just putting in extra reps pretty much every day. Staying after practice, every day. Going to the (Belen) community center and getting extra reps — I’m shooting the ball more because I’m confident in my shot.”
It helps that first-year Valencia coach Raymond Montoya, no relation, employs a pressure defense that leads to transition offense and more scoring opportunities.
Jadyn Montoya is often at the front of the defensive mayhem, leading the Jaguars in steals and tied for most blocks.
Offensively, all her extra work is showing tangible results. Montoya broke the VHS single-game scoring record Jan. 9 with 33 points against Bernalillo. Then, on Jan. 20, Montoya broke through the career 1,000-point barrier during the home game against Santa Teresa, with the help of her teammates.
“They were all trying to get me the ball and trying to get me to score. That was a good feeling,” Montoya recalled. “When I did hit it, everyone was so hyped, probably more hyped than I was.”
The Jaguars celebrated the milestone after the game, and when it was suggested Montoya might keep the game ball, she wouldn’t hear it.
“Our game ball is like our ‘sacred ball.’ I told coach, we’re going to keep using it for the rest of the season,” she said.
The rest of the season promises more individual and team success. VHS started the week ranked seventh in 4A by MaxPreps with a 11-8, 1-1 record after falling Tuesday to number two St. Pius 67-56. Montoya had 32 points against the Sartans, as VHS remains in position to make the state tournament.
As for individual goals, Montoya would like to be the District Player of the Year before graduating and keep climbing up the “record board” that greets visitors outside the VHS gym.
“Growing up in the program,” starting as an eighth-grader on the varsity, “you see it when you walk into the gym,” Montoya said of the record board. “So, it’s just something you want to be a part of.”
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.