City Player of the Year: Jazmine Jackson 

The trophies are starting to take up too much room, but there is still plenty of space for the tapes.

That alone is enough to ensure Jazmine Jackson remains eternally humble.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral star forward and her sister, sophomore center Kamilah Jackson, settle in after every game with mom Trina Easley-Jackson to review the film Easley-Jackson has recorded. And it’s not the made 3-pointers and cleverly taken charges that draw calls for the rewind button.

"We wait until one of us gets crossed over or falls down or something," Jazmine Jackson said. "Then we just start laughing and watch it again."

Comic relief comes easier after a win, and you’d have to dig deep into the archives to find a game Jackson lost while playing for the Irish. The Pepperdine-bound senior was the leading lady for a team that went

33-0 this season, has won 56 straight overall, earned its third straight state title and was recognized as the mythical national champion by USA Today. Sacred Heart has gone 126-8 in her four-year varsity career.

For the third straight time, Jackson is The Examiner’s Player of the Year.

"What else can you say about Jaz — she’s a fantastic player," Irish senior guard Rosslyn Beard said after Jackson scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter of a 46-45 win over St. Mary’s of Stockton in the NorCal final. "She wouldn’t let us lose."

Jackson’s game includes all the attributes you would expect out of a star player. She can score inside on short shots and putbacks, make the perimeter jumper consistently and is a tenacious defender. Yet it is the small things and rare ability to produce in the clutch that truly separates her. In the St. Mary’s game, she shot just 3-of-19 from the field but hit 10 of 11 free throws. Against Magnolia of Anaheim in the state final, she was 4-for-18, but made all five of her foul shots and scored nine of her 13 points in the second half.

She also drew three charges.

"Whether it’s a good game or not, Jaz knows you have to overcome the obstacles and come through," said guard Lauren Bell, who will join Jackson at Pepperdine in the fall. "She wanted that undefeated season."

And now that it’s been accomplished, Jackson has found herself growing reflective as she walks around the Sacred Heart campus.

On Tuesday, she sat outside the quiet gym while the sounds and signs of soccer, volleyball and the other spring sports surrounded her.

"It’s kind of strange — no more practice, no more games," Jackson said. "But it’s been a great run."

melliser@examiner.com

Jazmine Jackson

» Statistics: 12.2 points per game

» What people don’t know: Wore no braids in her hair this season: "Last year, I had them every game. It was my last year and I wanted to do something different."

» Favorite athlete: Carmelo Anthony

» Favorite class: Race and culture

THE OTHER FIRST-TEAMERS

Lauren Bell

Shooting guards from around the WCAL rejoice: Bell, one of the fiercest defenders in recent league history, is graduating. The Pepperdine-bound spark plug has anchored a unit that has led the league in scoring defense in each of the past three seasons. This year, Bell held Notre Dame’s Jaclyn Bisordi (the WCAL’s leading scorer) to six total points in two games. Sacred Heart permitted an average of 35 points per game.

"Honestly, I’d rather my player get zero points than me score a jillion," she said. "It’s so frustrating when someone gets one on me."

Of course, Bell can score herself as well. She also became the Irish’s biggest cheerleader after injuring her knee in the CCS final against St. Ignatius and expects to be healthy enough to play as a freshman for the Waves.

» Statistics: 9.2 ppg

» Favorite subject: English

» Favorite athleteS: Candace Parker and Kobe Bryant

» Season highlight: Beating three defending state champions in three days at the Nike Northwest Invitational.

Maggie McCarthy

She started out at point guard, moved to the wing and even saw some time down low during her career at St. Ignatius.

Through it all, McCarthy never complained and developed into one of The City’s most complete players.

"She has great offensive skills and always defends the other teams’ best player," Wildcats coach Mike Mulkerrins said. "Even when she’s not scoring, she goes to the boards and does a little bit of everything else."

The senior missed SI’s first five games with an injury and watched as the Wildcats struggled to a 1-4 start. Once she returned, the team won 10 of its next 11 and eventually advanced to the NorCal playoffs. The highlight? A 43-42 win at Mitty, the first time SI had earned a road win over the Monarchs in recent memory.

» Statistics: 11 ppg, 5.9 rpg

» Favorite subject: English or science

» Favorite athleteS: Steve Nash and Baron Davis

» Nicknames: Mac or Maggs

Ki-Ki Moore

On a team where all five starters and several reserves are capable of averaging 20 points, Moore has mastered the delicate job of keeping everyone happy.

The junior point guard can throw a pass to start a fastbreak with a snap of the wrists and break down defenders in the halfcourt with equal ease. And after totaling 13 points and nine assists in a 67-46 win over Sacramento in the NorCal semifinals, Irish coach Brian Harrigan called her "the best point guard in the country."

"We had played a close game against them last year and knew they would come out hard," said Moore, recalling SHC’s 67-66 win over the Dragons in last season’s NorCal final. "And we played one of our best games of the year."

» Statistics: 9.2 ppg

» Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

» Go-to move: Spin move

» Season highlight: Beating Sacramento 67-46 in the NorCal semifinals.

Tierra Rogers

The pass went inside and Tierra Rogers turned, double-pumped and banked the ball in the basket.

The shot gave Sacred Heart Cathedral a 46-45 win over St. Mary’s of Stockton in the NorCal Division III final and provided the junior forward with a moment she’ll never forget. Two months earlier, her father, Terrell, had been shot and killed outside the school gym during halftime of a game against Mitty. Now she had lifted the No. 1 Irish over the Rams — then undefeated and ranked No. 8 nationally by USA Today — in the type of big game her dad loved watching her play.

"I felt like he was there with me," Rogers said. "And for me to hit that shot in that game is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life."

» Statistics: 9.4 ppg

» Favorite subject: Chemistry

» Nickname: Just "T"

» What people don’t know: "I love to shop."

COACH OF THE YEAR » BRIAN HARRIGAN

On Jan. 9, Brian Harrigan’s team had reached the pinnacle of prep girls’ basketball — the No. 1 position in the USA Today national poll.

Three days later, Sacred Heart Cathedral had been emotionally devastated. Terrell Rogers, the father of star Irish junior Tierra Rogers, had been shot and killed across the street from the school gym during halftime of the Irish’s Jan. 12 home game against Mitty. And Harrigan, long the face of the program, served as coach, friend, mentor and media spokesman as Sacred Heart grieved.

"It wasn’t just me," Harrigan said. "It was all of our coaches, parents , the community and, most importantly, the players. Everyone stayed together and without that, we wouldn’t have gotten through it."

The Irish returned to the court 11 days later and got back to doing what they love. Rogers rejoined them shortly thereafter and, remarkably, the team kept on winning. They finished 33-0, beat Magnolia of Anaheim 48-33 for their third straight state title and claimed

USA Today’s mythical national championship.

"There’s some special banners in this gym," Harrigan said. "But when that one goes up, they’ll all be able to point to it and remember ‘I was a part of that team.’"

» Years coaching: 28 (Nine at St. Rose, 19 at Sacred Heart Cathedral)

» Career record: 579-172

» Education: San Francisco State

» Profession: Preschool teacher

» Family: Single

» Most memorable moment: Beating three defending state champions in three days at the Nike Northwest Invitational in Beaverton, Ore. "We played three great teams and came up with three of our best games. And we had a great time up there."

» Basketball philosophy: "Everyone is treated the same way. You have your foundation and you build everything around that."

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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