Jackie Polk is not new to this.
Grainy videos of a little girl with a toothy smile and curly hair can be found on her Instagram page until 2018, Polk spewing hashtags like #ilovethisgame and #ballislife before she hit double digits on her birth certificate.
He looked comically young then, bending his knees and shooting 3-pointers from deep during youth basketball. Age has not yet done its wonders; A freshman at Los Osos, she looks so petite that she might go unnoticed if it weren’t for the dangling curls and cutthroat crossover.
“I had no idea,” coach Dawnesha Knight said of Polk’s potential, “when I met her.”
Social media yes, though, Polk is already a next-generation star with more than 19,000 followers on IG and 24,000 on TikTok — the blast, he said, stemmed from a viral video about a year and a half ago of breaking the ankles of a kid at a UAA game. And there was no shortage of that youthful combination of calm and swagger on Friday, as the stoic Polk led her team to a 65-48 victory in the Division III girls’ basketball state final over Colfax for the first state title in basketball history. program.
He scored 30 points, tying the Division III state title game record, coming back for three-pointers on yo-yo dribbles and dropping bunt floaters.
“I really don’t want to lose,” Polk said, “so I just put everything on the floor.”
A few hours before her teammates hugged her in celebration, the Grizzlies gathered in a quiet hallway at their Holiday Inn, sitting in a circle for the pregame tradition they had kept up since the beginning of the year. In an almost meditative state, Buckner urged the players to visualize every detail of the final ahead of them: the stands, their precise function, every spot they would score on the pitch.
It seemed the only way Polk’s next performance could have manifested itself was through a magical crystal ball. However, in her mind, the freshman simply went over her signature moves: those three “snatchbacks”, as she put it, and the teardrop floats.
Despite Polk’s 11 first-half points on 5-of-8 shooting as the Bears took a 41-33 lead, Colfax’s hometown, a school of about 650 students in a town of 2,000 just 50 miles from Sacramento, kept up with the Grizzlies. until the third trimester. However, with seconds ending in the period, Polk pushed the break, stopped on a dime, and charged in for a 3-pointer that set up a fourth-quarter eruption.
He scored 15 in the fourth quarter, turning leg crosses into floaters, soft spikes at the rim and more step-back 3-pointers.
As the buzzer rang and the hugs from Los Osos began, a round of applause for Polk made it clear that she is a player to watch in Southern California for years to come.