Rey and Zeida Perez put 333,000 miles on their 2004 Toyota Sienna, and most of that mileage was spent traveling to watch their daughter, Jackie, play basketball at Barry University.
“I haven’t missed a game yet,” said Rey, the basketball coach at Doral Academy.
Rey, who coordinates his Doral schedule around the Barry slate, recently sold the minivan. But the family is not about to stop traveling to Jackie’s games, especially since she is so close to setting a significant record.
Perez already has the Miami-Dade County high school record for most career three-pointers. Pretty soon, she will likely have Barry’s career record for three-pointers as well.
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Perez, a 5-7 senior point guard, has 157 three-pointers, shooting 34.3 percent for her career. She needs four more three-pointers to tie Christina Thompson (2005-2010).
“Jackie’s a pure shooter,” Barry coach Bill Sullivan said. “That’s what attracted us to her.”
Perez first made headlines at Lourdes Academy, where she helped the Bobcats post an 87-10 record in her final three years.
In her junior season, Lourdes reached the Class 6A state final, finishing 30-3 with a starting lineup that featured five players who went on to play college basketball.
“To this day, that is still the best basketball year I’ve had as far as fun,” said Perez, who made 283 three-pointers in high school and averaged 12.7 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 steals as a junior. “Those girls are still my best friends.”
Perez became a Barry starter as a sophomore, averaging 9.3 points. But she had a major setback in a practice just before the start of her third year of college.
While going up for a layup, her right knee gave out.
“It was the worst pain in my life — excruciating,” said Perez, who underwent ACL surgery. “I felt the pop throughout my whole body. I was screaming before I hit the ground.”
Perez, a 4.0 grade-point-average student who has been a team captain for seven of the past eight years, didn’t let the injury keep her out for long. She was running three months after the injury and was cleared to play with contact in six months.
Her “do-over” junior year was a huge success as Perez set Barry records for minutes played, averaging 37.2 per game, and three-pointers made (75).
Perez, who is majoring in education, took advantage of her extra year of college, earning her bachelor’s degree and starting work on a master’s.
She is teaching part-time at Doral Academy — where her dad coaches — but is also a realtor and is probably headed toward a career in real estate.
“I think she can do anything she wants,” Lourdes coach Chris McKeon said. “She is extremely bright and highly energetic. She pushes herself — very self-motivated.”
Next up for Perez is the Barry three-point record, which could fall Nov. 13 against Lee or Nov. 14 against North Alabama. Both games are at Nova Southeastern, and you can bet that Perez’s parents, grandparents and brother, Chris, will be sitting behind the Bucs’ bench as usual.
“They’re extremely loud,” Perez said. “My dad and my brother scream at me, and my mom knows how to calm me down.”
Perez, who wants to play pro ball overseas next year, stays focused through it all.
“You never have to worry about Jackie,” Sullivan said. “When the ball is in her hands, we’re in good shape.”