Nearly every level of basketball has become dominated by the 3-point shot.

From the youth leagues to high school and up through college and, of course, the professional ranks. 

Over at Santa Maria High, though, there's still plenty of proof that the inside game has its place in the sport. 

Just look at Saints senior Carlissa Solorio. The 5-foot-10 center scored 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Santa Maria's 57-48 win over Pioneer Valley on Friday.

Solorio, in fact, is averaging 22 points and 12.3 rebounds per game for a Saints team that is off to a 4-0 start.

Solorio's brilliant game was on full display Friday. She rarely left the floor and when she was out there, she was constantly moving. She battled for position in the paint, politely calling for the ball on nearly every possession. She also adeptly positioned herself for rebounds, almost always out-working her defender. 

She dribbled and helped start the transition offense, but also displayed a natural ability that sets her apart. Solorio has great touch around the basket, able to lay the ball in from just about any angle, working the glass masterfully.

"I feel like I've grown a lot, but I still have a lot to work on," Solorio said Friday. "I feel I'm good at reading the basket and going up strong every time. It takes up a lot of energy working in the post, but it's manageable." 

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Solorio has played splendidly even while playing another sport. In fact, Solorio is playing two other sports, helping lead the Santa Maria softball and volleyball teams that are playing at the same time this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"It's games all week," she said. "It's tiring and it's fun. It's just great finally being out here after dealing with COVID for a year. It's great."

Solorio says she plans on continuing her basketball career at Hancock College after graduating later this spring. 

Coach Erik Ramos says the team runs its offense through Solorio in the post, adjusting last year's system.

"Last year we tried a 3-point system and we hit the most 3-pointers at the school in the last 10 or 15 years," Ramos said. "But when you have a post presence like Carlissa, we're going to feed her the ball and we're going to make teams stay on her. Then we've got players on the perimeter who can knock down the 3. That's how we're playing this year, through Carlissa. She can get the ball in the post and get her own shot or kick it out."

Solorio will try to keep up her 20-10 pace as the schedule gets tougher, with games against Templeton, Paso Robles and Morro Bay on the horizon.

"Being 4-0, we don't know what's going to happen next," Solorio said. "Hopefully we can keep this going and we'll have a great season. We're hoping for the best."


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