GARFIELD — Ariana Gomez became the top scorer in the history of Garfield High School basketball last Thursday as she hit a pair of free throws and surpassed the former record holder, Marvin Williams, a 1995 graduate.
Gomez reached 1,280 points after hitting two free throws with 7:15 remaining in the second quarter against Lodi at home in Garfield as her teammates came scrambling onto the floor with a giant banner in hand celebrating Gomez’s mark. Gomez would score 19 points in the 53-36 victory over the Lady Rams.
Earlier in the week she had collected the Garfield girls basketball record.
For Gomez it was quite an achievement since she really only turned up her game the last couple of years and she credits some of that by her taking on the boys at the local 20th Century Park in Garfield. She had 841 points to start the 2012-13 season.
“Going up against the guys helped me a great deal,” said Gomez after the Boilermakers defeated Wallington on Friday.
The Boilermakers’ senior played hoops against members of the Garfield boys basketball team and others at the park during the spring and summer. From those battles with the boys, she developed a work ethic that her coach Chris Caiazzo said has separated her from several basketball players in the area and county.
“The best aspects of Ariana’s game is her post game and overall hustle,” said Caiazzo. “She has developed a strong low and high post game, however, most of her points are hustle points, put backs, beating the defense down the floor, getting a steal on defense and converting a layup.”
The Garfield coach added that this season has shown Gomez’s maturity on the court.
“Ariana had really improved on her composure this year,” said Caiazzo. “In the past, she would get frustrated very easily, she has matured and learned to put her mistakes behind her and move forward.”
Over the years Gomez has significantly improved on her game, especially her free throw shooting.
“When I was a freshman, I could not hit a free throw shot,” said Gomez. “My coach (Caiazzo) jokes that if I had hit my free throw shots that I would have gotten a 1,000 points in my junior year.”
She pointed out that she also improved this season on her left hand dribbling and her outside shot.
For her next mark she is still mulling over her decision on college, but she definitely wants to play both basketball and volleyball, the sport that she really loved when she started at Garfield High School. She is looking at Montclair State University along with East Stroudsburg University and Albright College, both in Pennsylvania.
“She definitely has the tools and the work ethic to succeed at the college level,” added her head coach.