Okanagan Mission's Makenna Jacklin will play her collegiate basketball with the Idaho Vandals beginning in 2021-22. (Photo graphic property of Idaho Vandals athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

Makenna Jacklin: She’s not just a post player! OKM’s 6-foot-1 star works to extend game beyond arc ahead of NCAA D-1 career with Idaho Vandals

LANGLEY — If Makenna Jacklin has her druthers, the trajectory of her NCAA Div. 1 basketball career is going to follow a script similar to the one she so dramatically penned en route to helping her Okanagan Mission Huskies beat East Vancouver’s Britannia Bruins in the championship final of last December’s Tsumura Basketball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre.

In case the details are a little foggy through this extended stretch of COVID-19 inactivity, you may remember that the 6-foot-1 Jacklin buried the title-winning three-pointer in the dying seconds of play in what was an eventual 88-85 win, revealing the confidence the Huskies’ 6-foot-1 forward was just beginning to reveal as part of the guard-based skill-set that had always resided within a player asked so early to play in the post.

On Wednesday, when she made good on her earlier verbal commitment by making it official with the NCAA Div. 1 Idaho Vandals, the story line was starting to take real shape.

Now, she was being looked upon as a next-level player as much for her shooting ability as for her touch and presence in the painted areas.

“They have told me they like me as a wing/power forward type, more of a three-four who can be a good shooter, but also attack the rim and get on the boards,” Jacklin said Thursday from Kelowna as she looks hopefully to the 2021-22 Big Sky Conference season. “Especially for me being tall, I can show that I am not just a post player and that I can do more. That is really great.”

Okanagan Mission head coach Meghan Faust is happy that Jacklin will finally be able to play out her truest identity on the court, and not get trapped by the typical high school axioms which, due to numbers, can so often be about having to play bigger players inside despite their varied skill sets.

“Unfortunately for her, as a high school player, she was the tallest, so automatically she had to go inside and play post,” said Faust of Jacklin who also played with the BC United club. “It was forced on her, but now I think as she develops more as a guard, she is going to be a huge threat. Her three-point shooting has come a long way during COVID.”

Tsumura Basketball Invitational MVP Lily Pink (rear, left) and late-game heroine Makenna Jacklin (rear, right) celebrated this past December along with the rest of their Okanagan Mission teammates following a championship win over Britannia at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)

Additionally, the defensive skills she flashed throughout high school were also impressive.

“Getting blocks is her thing, and it’s something she loves to do,” said Faust. “When I can put her out to defend someone on the perimetre, it’s pretty intimidating. But she can also go inside and do a good job defending in the post.”

Now you can add to all of that the time that Jacklin has spent over the past half-year honing that jumper.

“Sometimes my dad would rebound, but sometimes not, and I live at the top of a hill,” Jacklin began. “Sometimes the ball would go rolling down that hill, but that’s just how I got my cardio in.”

Okanagan Mission’s Makenna Jacklin (left) and Tatum Wade put up a brick wall against Britannia’s Surprise Munie during the 2019 TBI final at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)

That’s all going to come in handy when she starts to officially chase her next dream about a year from now.

Yet if the pandemic has shown her anything, it’s to take nothing for granted in the moment.

“I think especially for this season, going in with the mindset that if we do get some games to play, to play each one like it’s the last one because you never know when it’s going to be your last game,” she said.

“I am definitely going to go to every practice like there won’t be one the next day, because anything can be taken from you at any time.”

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