The Brownwood Lady Lions' all-time leader in career three-pointers and second-leading scorer is staying close to home as she continues her basketball career.
On Thursday, senior Mallory Garcia — a four-year starter for the Lady Lions — signed a letter of intent to play basketball for the Howard Payne Lady Jackets.
“It's definitely a privilege and an honor to continue doing what I love at the next level,” Garcia said. “I'm very grateful for the opportunity.”
Garcia started 134 of 135 games in her career, during which Brownwood posted a 96-39 record with a district championship, four postseason appearances and the program's first-ever trip to the regional tournament.
She owns the school record with 273 three-pointers in her career and her 1,466 points ranks second all-time behind Trejouir Wilson. Among her basketball honors, Garcia has been named a district newcomer of the year, offensive MVP and is a two-time all-state selection.
“Just to be up there with (all-time leading scorer) Trejouir is an honor,” Garcia said. “She's a great player and it means a lot to me.”
Despite her high school achievements, Garcia wasn't sold at first on playing college ball.
“I talked to a couple of schools, Howard Payne was last to talk to me,” Garcia said. ”I thought I was just going to school for academics, but after a lot of talking and praying and thinking about it, it was just a given that Howard Payne was home.”
Garcia — who also won the District 7-4A girls golf championship on Tuesday — choose HPU over East Texas Baptist and South Plains Junior College.
Lady Lions head coach Heather Hohertz, a member of two American Southwest Conference championship teams during her playing days at Howard Payne, has coached and mentored Garcia for a decade.
“I've known Mallory for 10 years now; she's my neighbor and lives about three houses down,” Hohertz said. “She's more than a player to me; her and her family our part of my family, she was even in my wedding last summer. I'm really excited she decided to play (college basketball). I'm really blessed I was able to coach her, and I can't wait to see her continue what she started building 10 years ago.”
Among her fondest memories of playing days at Brownwood, what happened away from the court is what Garcia will remember most.
“I love the game, but the memories and the people you meet, that's what really matters, the stuff off the court,” Garcia said.
Looking ahead to her role as a Lady Jacket, Garcia is willing to accept whatever is best for the team.
“I have high expectations for myself and I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing in the offseason,” Garcia said. “God will put me where he wants me on that team.”
As for plans in the classroom at HPU, Garcia is currently leaning toward studying nursing.