Watch the Oak Mountain Academy girls' basketball team in action and more often than not you will find Christian Pollard handling the team's dirty work in the low post.

The junior forward has already built an impressive career for the Lady Warriors, a career that now includes the feat of surpassing the 1,000-career point milestone.

Pollard isn't the first player in OMA history to reach the major scoring accomplishment, nor is she even the first player in her family to do it. That very fact served as extra motivation for her to rise up the ranks quickly.

"My sister (Calli) got it when she was a senior, so I was just trying to beat her and get it when I was a junior," Pollard said.

OMA head coach Terrell Barkley has coached both sisters and understood what the milestone meant to the younger one.

"Calli got it a few years ago, so Christian wanted to do it quicker," Barkley said. "It's a fun little sibling rivalry."

The younger Pollard reached the mark during OMA's 45-11 victory over LaGrange Academy last Saturday, a contest in which she came away with 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.

The kicker of it all is that she was totally unaware that her 1,000 point was on the horizon.

"I knew it was close, but I didn't know I was that close," Pollard said. "I thought it would come out some point later on the season."

That was done intentionally on the part of Barkley, who wants his players to focus on playing hard each night instead of worrying about individual accolades. That created for the cool moment on Saturday where he literally caught Pollard off-guard with the announcement.

" I don't like to tell them because I want it to be a surprise. As soon as she scored, we called timeout and announced it and her reaction was, 'What?' She's in the middle of the game and playing hard and all of sudden, 1,000 points," Barkley said. "She's a hard worker and does everything that we ask her to do, so she's earned it."

Alongside fellow upperclassmen like Maggie Harden and Lilly Parmer, Pollard has been a vital force toward OMA's success this season. Barkley identified what makes the junior forward a literal game-changer for the Lady Warriors.

"She's our go-to post player. We get the ball inside to her to score and that helps us a lot because if everybody's focusing on her, it helps our guards score easier," Barkley said. "She's also the back line of our defense. If we get beat, she's there to clean up the mess. Ever since she's been here, she's been a vital part of our program."

OMA definitely needed her during a grueling stretch last week in which it had to play four region contests in six days.

The result? Four crucial, late-season victories, triumphs that the forward hopes propels her Lady Warriors into the postseason.

"I feel like that stretch made our team a lot more confident," Pollard said. "There were times where we felt like we may not have been as good as other teams. But since we've beaten pretty much everyone in our region at this point, we're feeling good going into the region tournament and the playoffs."

Now sitting atop the GISA Region I-AA standings, the Lady Warriors will look to put another region victory on the board today when it hosts St. George's Episcopal School at 6 p.m. Barkley is hoping that his girls can continue to maintain this level of play and peak at just the right time.

"We want to roll into our region tournament where we're playing our best basketball," Barkley said. "We want to get a good seed in the state tournament, so we want to play well in that region tournament and playing good basketball when it matters the most."

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