For Mallory Parsons, life has always been about the numbers. After her first year playing basketball at Central Arizona College, however, it's been more than her shots that have been adding to those numbers.

Not much has changed for the former Marana High School standout basketball player, who has transitioned to the college scene as smoothly as she knocks down 3-pointers. After her first year on the Signal Peak campus, the math and molecular biology major has been nothing short of sensational both on the court and in the classroom.

Parson's world doesn't solely revolve around basketball. On May 5, the 19-year-old's academic efforts were rewarded with Signal Peak's Outstanding First Year Student Award, as voted on by her teachers and faculty. Netting that honor earned Parsons a full-year scholarship, which will complement the $1,500 math and science scholarship she earned for having a 4.0 grade point average in her major.

When learning her lessons on the hardwood, the diminutive freshman guard averaged five points per game for the Vaqueros. She finished the season No. 2 in the state of Arizona and No. 17 in the nation in 3-point efficiency, shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc. The only player in the state with a higher 3-point shooting percentage was teammate Dominique Montague (45 percent).

College life seems to suit Parsons just fine. Whether it's acting as the basketball team's academic tutor, or bringing teammates to her parent's ranch on weekends for a home-cooked meal or to do laundry, Parsons is enjoying her time with her new mates.

"Every other girl is just as serious about basketball as I am," Parsons said. "It's not like in high school where maybe some girls only played just to say they were on the team."

Parsons will spend her summer immersed in her first true love, basketball. As an assistant coach on the Lady Arizona Stars, a Tucson club team her cousin and sister both play on, Parsons will find herself traveling the country this summer, heading off to coach games in California, Chicago, Las Vegas and Oregon.

When not coaching, she'll be working out and preparing for her sophomore season at Central Arizona. Despite several offers from Division I schools, Parsons has elected to return to Signal Peak to rejoin her teammates and shoot for the school's Outstanding Sophomore Award.

"Academics come first when choosing a school," Parsons proudly boasts, "Basketball is second."

Go figure.

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